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…
…INNER-CRITIC ANESTHETIZING TIPS
- Let it flow. Remind yourself regularly that, while you’re immersed in the creative process, there’s absolutely no sense in feeling embarrassed. Even if what comes out at first is crude, stiff, inappropriate, or simple-minded, tell your internal critic to take a hike, that he/she/it is simply getting in your way.
- Write without thinking. According to New Yorker-published poet Stephen Perry , “If you just put down words, whatever pops into your head, meandering here and there, free-associating, allowing whatever sputters out to sputter out, amazingly, after a short interval, something takes hold, some comet wraps its tail around you like a kinetic Cheshire Cat, and you’re off.” Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, point-of-view, character, plot, any of the technical aspects of your particular art or craft. They can always be cleaned up later.
- Write from your emotions. If you get emotionally involved enough with your subject, if you really feel it as you’re writing or creating something about it, you’ll forget to be self-conscious. If you’re not in an emotional mood, try putting yourself into one. Many artists say they listen to a particular piece of music that’s emotionally stirring as they begin creating. Experiment.