How To Trick Your Self-Critic

I am writing you from the Lair of the Golden Bear! The Lair is a week of glamping (glam-camping) in the Sierra mountains with family, cocktail parties, and extremely dirty feet. We come here every summer.

Last year at the Lair, I spent each morning walking through the woods recording myself singing aimlessly about trees and rocks. After about five minutes my self-critic would pipe in, resulting in frustration and stomping back to camp for some peanut M&M's. I had lost the joy of songwriting and I wanted to get it back. Here are a few things I've done to trick my self-critic and start creating again:

re-define creativity

There is a romanticized idea of what it means to be creative, but don't buy it. Creative acts begin with simply noticing. Noticing the poetry in an overheard conversation, the strange beauty of a scribbled grocery list, or the hum of your electric toothbrush. These things are worth your attention too!

Something is better than nothing

Remember that creating something small every day adds up. Don't wait to be swept off your feet by inspiration. I've said this before, but think quantity, not quality!

No more to-do lists

Sometimes to-do lists keep you from doing what you actually want to do. It is so tempting to fall into the if-then trap: "If I finish x, then I will have time for y." The problem is, once you start doing the dishes, you end up cleaning the whole kitchen and you are too exhausted make a creative effort. Put your creative needs first once in a while.

Camping in 1915

Message or comment below with the tips you have to help trick your self-critic -- we need all the help we can get!


Thanks for reading and sharing in the process,
Lucy Horton

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