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Enhancing the creative experience: how to deal with your inner critic

Posted Jul 31 2010 1:37pm

The internal vision I have of my novel seems so superior to what I’ve actually written that I’m often paralyzed into inaction.

I took about a year off from working on it – that sounds so much better than saying I just couldn’t face it.

Now I’m back in the fray and struggling with the same daunting standards.

Just what keeps me from creating? Psychologist Susan Perry talks about this at her Creating in Flow blog:

Creating can be an emotional process. But there’s good emotional—even when you’re sad or the work epitomizes sorrow—and there’s bad emotional.

That’s when your inner critic attacks you, calls you mean names, and causes you not to feel like creating anymore.

One of the ways you may slip out of flow when you’re creating something is if you don’t feel that what you’re producing—your internal feedback—matches what you had in mind originally, that is, your internal ideal.

Of course, apprehension due to such non-matching is helpful when it warns you to go back and revise the substandard work. In fact, that’s an essential part of the flow process.

It’s only dysfunctional when it makes you feel too bad to continue working, then or later.

According to Anne Paris, a clinical psychologist and author of Standing at Water’s Edge: Moving Past Fears, Blocks, and Pitfalls to Discover the Power of Creative Immersion , when the artist steps back from full immersion in the creative process, as she calls it, to a state of disengagement, it can be a time of reflection and consolidation.

“But the artist can also feel insecure, vulnerable and full of self-doubt.”

From Before You Create, Pacify Your Inner Critic by Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.

She is author of Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity


Audio: Interview with Susan Perry

Post: Anne Paris on the need for relationships to be creative


Practical Strategies for Shifting the “I’m Not Enough” Gremlin , by Laura West


creativity book, psychology of creativity, creative anxiety, creative experience characteristics, dealing with self sabotage, critical inner voice, inner critic

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