What do you do with the critics?
There it is!
It’s up my spine and in between my shoulder blades.
Tighter than the nuts on a bridge.
You know, that voice.
That ongoing story in the background in your head?
I’ve got one too.
It’s likely saying different shit.
But it’s there going non stop.
And this voice is getting noisy.
Those sensations in my body?
When they show up and connect with that voice in my head things get nasty.
That voice in my head becomes very unhelpful.
It tells me all sorts of nasty stuff:
What the hell did you just do?
What were you thinking?
Who the hell do you think you are doing this work?
They’re eventually going to catch you.
You’re doing it wrong and you’re going to get in trouble.
Man, that little jerk?
That dirty little rat faced jerk of a voice?
That voice sometimes doesn’t shut up.
ESPECIALLY EVERY TIME I’M FACED WTIH DOING SOMETHING NEW
(like finishing the book)
Big doubts? Your inner critic? This is what Steven Pressfield calls “The Resistance”. It’s not some glamorous and tragic revolutionary force. The resistance is made up of those stories and sensations that show up when we doubt ourselves.
I think he may use the term ‘gut punch’
I think of it more of what it would actually feel like to do the whole Looney Tunes thing - You know, run off a cliff, keep going horizontally until finally having a realization that the ground is gone.
Our feelings of happy, sad, aroused or anger and sensations and impulses of fear can be really distressing and horribly uncomfortable. We can feel like we’ve lost the ground beneath our feet. And feelings like this? They typically don’t last forever. And the stories? They can change too.
The closer I get to finishing the book, the more frequently I am experiencing these sensations. With those sensations, I’ve been greeted by familiar voices, telling familiar stories.
So, I’ve noticed.
And, emboldened by the knowing that my existence is of so little consequence, I’ve done something Remarkably Foolish. I’ve listened to the voices. Was there any validity to the criticism? Did I need to learn something?
After that, I merely get to work. The sensations and feelings go away. Then I find other stories to imagine. I think about things I care about. I flip the focus to you - Hello reader!
I know one thing about all of you.
You’re all creative people.
Some of us struggle to start.
Some of us struggle to finish.
Others start and stop and have piles of projects that get so messy, that your mind becomes a rainbow loom of ideas.
And sometimes, we can get into a bit of a run. Things go well. Making it happen seems easy.
Then, the run down easy street hits a concrete pile of dogshit. Like if one of those Power Rangers cats were actually dogs that took a giant concrete shit on the sidewalk.
Easy Street turns into a cul-de-sac. Progress stops.
Those sensations and the stories that go with them show up.
So what do you do when that happens?
Let me know in the comments
It’s like the old saying goes:
If you don’t have something nice to say, how many times have you said that to yourself?