Do you get down in the mouth about the art you would like to create? Do you have a tendancy to leave whatever you began in the cupboard - waiting for a moment of inspiration to strike? This is very much the long way round my friend. Here are some thoughts..
Today I’ve been writing about our own personal & very much there inner-critics for my book. I’ve been discussing what it is, why it’s there and how actually, our inner critic is our friend, not our enemy.
Our inner critics have a function which is to stop us from doing anything that we might potentially fail at. It’s there to save us from looking silly or to stick out too much. The thing is though - our inner-critics can actually have us on our knees and can seem uncontrollable.
Never has it got such free reign than when we are beginning of learning something new, particularly something creative like drawing, cermics, singing, etc.
We tell ourselves stories, such as
You? Art? NO WAY. You are going to be rubbish at this, look at the money you have spent on those art materials - what a waste and for what? Nothing. What’s the point of doing this when you are going to be crap at it...etc, etc.
There is a way to stop it though, this negative voice.
By simply acknowledging it. I once had a name for mine, I believe I called it Monkey! I was encouraged to acknowledge my own critic in a workshop I attended many years ago. The thought was that by naming it, I was properly acknowledging it.
Some greater thinkers than I, (trained therapists) believe that by acknowledging our inner-critic and talking directly to it (in the car, alone is as good a place as any) we can regain control of that part of ourselves.
The idea is to thank it for trying to keep us safe from perceived harm, thank it for trying to keep us in line - then tell it that you are going to take it from here. Remind your inner-critic that’s its not in control, you are. This vocal action then allows us to turn the volume down on it a bit - keep practising this and we get to turn it down more..
I ask that you listen out for those thoughts, the ones that come directly from your critic ESPECIALLY when it comes to making your art. Recognising them is the first step.
Does your inner-critic have a tight grip on you? I’d love to know
Sam Barnes has been a practising artist for 25 years. Throughout her career she has had her own gallery, worked with hundreds of artists in making and marketing their own works and exhibited her own extensively. Her work has been successfully published & licensed many times. Sam is passionate about artists, makers and creatives earning a decent living from what they do. Our world needs new and beautiful things and artists deserve liveable incomes. Those two things are possible. Sam writes from her first hand experience and occasionally works 1:1 with others.
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Thank you to iva-rajovic- for this photograph. unsplash