Dealing with the External Critic

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Blockers to Creativity

Every time you create something, a piece of you goes into it. Sharing that creation with others can be intimidating, especially if you are sensitive to the opinions of others, which most “creative types” tend to be. There are several things to consider in sharing your work like : the relationship you have with those you share with and the type of feedback you have received from them in the past, how important it is to you to get your work “out there” regardless of the response, and what thoughts you have in the back of your head on what you might do if you get a negative response (“I’ll never get up in front of an audience again!”)

Here are a few key tips to help you evaluate how you share your work:

1. Are you open to feedback? Getting an outside perspective/constructive criticism allows you to see your work in a new way. This can be a great opportunity to make your work even better.

2. Try to be objective Separating yourself from your work can be difficult. Remember that the spark that produced the work is still in you and has an abundance of ways of expressing itself. Passion and skill work hand in hand. We can always learn more skill.

3. Consider the source Any feedback on how to improve your work should be done with the intent to help you. If you perceive that this is the intent, weigh the comments- take what you can work with and leave the rest. If not, consider the comments more a reflection on the speaker than on you.

When our emotions are at stake, things get tricky. That’s part of what keeps life interesting…


Today’s 4 Minute Writer


I see it and my eyes light up. A gentle electric current zaps my pleasure receptors and I know the serotonin is flowing. I am taken into the world of flaming oranges and crisp greens. I’m flying now, through depthless oceans and golden dunes. My tongue is dragging behind, lapping freshly squeezed grapes from grandma’s vineyard. All night long I careen through canyons, run marathons without breaking a sweat, and belt out amazing lyrics to adoring throngs. I don’t want to be taken away from this world, hurled into the strain and striving of waking life. There the confines of my blinders keep me in mental locked-in syndrome, unable to climb the heights or soar like I do when I’m asleep.

My only consolation is that one day, while I’m riding alongside a group of wild horses, I’ll just keep riding and not have to stop.

Tomorrow’s 4 Minute Writer topic:

Use the comment field to suggest a topic, submit your writing on tomorrow’s topic, or to comment.


Filed under Creativity, Free writing

2 responses to “Dealing with the External Critic

  1. Squire

    Well written. I personally have also found that dealing with praise can sometimes be just as difficult as dealing with criticism. It’s easy for me to assume that people are sometimes just trying to not hurt my feelings rather than accept positive feedback.

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