Have you met your inner critic? Are you well acquainted? Do you believe whatever it tells you?
Our inner critic or Censor is that little voice inside our heads, the one that never seems to have a kind word to say. It is a bully that pushes our creative self around, throws it to the ground, and uses it as a punching bag. I bet if most of us saw a bully in action we’d jump in to help that poor victim. Wouldn’t we? So just why do we allow our Censor to behave like a bully, and simply stand back and take it?
Have you told yourself that your work just isn’t good enough? Do you find fault with everything you attempt to do?
Hey, I’ve been there. I’m sure many of you have as well.
I recently came through a period where I hated everything I wrote. Oh, I did love it for a day or two when the idea was fresh and I was still smitten with the story. But that feeling soon fizzled out. The same paragraphs that I initially thought were terrific sounded old and tired, so stale that I couldn’t sit down and write for an extended period of time. I wasn’t even sure I liked my main character all that well.
I began jumping around, working on several projects, a few days here, a few days there. I was restless and cranky. My “Censor” was having a field day!
“So you had one book published. What makes you think you can write another one?” my Censor sneered while I sat cringing in the corner.
Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way, says we should make this a rule:
“Always remember that your Censor’s negative opinions are not the truth.”
Sounds like good advise to me.
So I backed off a bit.
I wrote my little bit each day and tried not to worry about what I wasn’t accomplishing. Writers write– that’s what we do. But it doesn’t mean that’s all we do. I had plenty of other things in my life to keep me busy. I decided to let the writing take care of itself.
When I was ready, I went back to a story that I started during the winter, and immediately it felt right. I’ve had to take a bit of a break from it while working on those other revisions earlier this month, but there were days when I had to go back, just to take a peak, maybe write a few sentences. Now I am anxious to see what will happen next and it feels pretty darn good.
I have no doubts that I will make it through to the end of my current work in progress. I don’t know when, nor do I need to. All I need to know it that I will eventually get there.
Although I like to keep a positive attitude, I cannot always keep myself from thinking negative thoughts from time to time. We all slip back into those negative thought patterns. It sumply means we are human. The question is how long will we allow ourselves to remain there? Hopefully, not long at all.
I am going to keep in mind that my Censor’s opinions are not the truth. I will rewrite a new truth for myself, one that is filled with encouragement. If I forget this new truth for a little while, as I’m sure I am bound to do from time to time, I’ll start again from scratch. I’ll go back to that truth as often as need be. I will practise, practise, practise until I finally get to the point where I understand that my Censor’s opinions are not the truth.
So here are a few things to keep you thinking. Do you allow your Censor to bully your creative self? What things do you to keep your Censor in its place? And if you wrote yourself a new truth what would that truth be?