That’s right. No click bait, no fluff piece. There is one thing you can do right now to increase your creative satisfaction. In fact, it may be the one BEST thing you can do for yourself, but before I give you the solution, let’s look at the problem.
Breaking down the problem
Think about all the times you’ve struggled creatively. In those moments I want you to pay special attention to what that little voice in the back of your head was telling you. That conversation, for me, usually goes something like this.
- This is amazing!
- I love this new work!
- Can’t wait to show it to everyone!
- Will they like it?
- Hopefully they do, because I’m proud of it…aren’t I?
- It is kind of similar to XYZ photographer’s project…but it’s not the same really.
- Maybe this isn’t so good.
- This is stupid, it’s going to bomb when I share it.
- No one will like this.
- This work sucks.
- Why do I even bother…
- I’m just not creative
- AND I really suck at this…I should just throw my cameras away and forget about it all
- Meh…I already created it, I might as well share it even if no one is going to like it.
Sound familiar? Trust me, I think most photographers and creatives have some version of this argument in their heads at some point. Sadly, many never stop having that argument and in the end let the negativity of their own minds convince them they aren’t good enough. Even to the point where they do pack the cameras away and decide to give up.
Your negative inner critic
The voice of that negative inner critic is a nasty little dude (or dudette, no need to be gender specific here!). Once you know to recognize that negative voice though, things can start to change.
I heard a speaker talk about giving that negative inner critic a name. If I recall it was Danielle Krysa, the author of Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk, on her episode of Chase Jarvis Live. By giving it a name, it becomes easier to identify it when it starts to blather on incessantly. I think maybe I’ll call mine Billy because why not!
Sometimes Billy is absolutely needed, that inner voice can guide us to creating our best work ever. Providing that spark of excitement and drive as we create, pushing us forward. But sometimes Billy forgets about being a good guide and turns in to a foul mouthed smart ass.
In those moments he starts filling our heads with negativity and doubt about what we’ve just created. Interestingly enough, he usually gets that way AFTER we have finished creating the work and WHILE we are excited to share it.
That’s the problem…how do we solve it?
Finally, the good stuff!
At the risk of being a bit anti-climactic here, the solution is actually very simple… in theory at least.
The reason those negative thoughts rear up so much is because we put all the pressure on the outside world to decide if our creative pursuits are WORTHY. We’ve given over control of our own satisfaction with the work we make, instead placing it in the hands of everyone else. Suddenly we are essentially asking permission from everyone else to feel like our work is any good.
Understanding this was a total mind melting moment for me.
Think about this hard.
Because we do this we are literally asking someone else, or the random entirety of the internet, to TELL US if we have permission to feel good about OUR OWN WORK!
This is a total WTF moment!
Why on earth would we do this to ourselves?
BILLY! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME!?!
Why Billy, WHYYYYY?!
Now that you want to slap the ever loving shit out of Billy, let’s look at what that negative inner critic is doing to us. More importantly why.
We need Billy so don’t be too hard on him. In fact, Billy is just reacting the way that you have taught him to react. His natural instinct is to be that amazing guide through life, providing those gut feelings and hunches that are normally worth paying attention to.
By constantly worrying about what others will think about our work, letting that be the only judgment of our value as an artist, we’ve conditioned poor Billy to give us negative feedback. He’s trying to protect us from being blind sided by negative response to our work once we release it into the wild.
Getting your control back is simple
So let’s talk about the one simple thing you need to do to get things back under control.
Like I mentioned earlier, so many of us have put ourselves in a position of letting others tell us if it’s ok to feel good about our work. That’s where the solution can be found. That one step to reclaiming and increasing our creative satisfaction comes down to a choice.
One simple choice that is up to us to make. Maybe easier said than done, but by choosing and committing to it, it WILL make a world of difference for you as a creative.
You ready for it?
Then here it is.
To increase your creative satisfaction and reclaim your joy in creating your art you simply need to choose to give yourself permission.
Permission to create the work that you’re inspired to create and more importantly permission to tell yourself that you CAN be proud of what you made. Permission to feel your OWN worth as an artist.
Equally important, permission to stop letting anyone else tell you if you can feel good about your own work. I know not everyone will love what I create, it’s impossible to please everyone. Yet there is absolutely no value in allowing anyone else to tell you if you should feel creatively satisfied or proud of the work you put out in the wild.
The fact is, if you give yourself permission and then stick with that mentality, you’ll feel the most creative freedom that you have possibly ever felt. It’s the freedom that we had as children when all that mattered was the enjoyment of our imagination at work.
So take your permission slip, display it proudly, and create the work that makes you happy. Release it into the wild and remember that some may love it, some may hate it but either way is just fine.
Because you gave yourself permission to be happy with what you’ve made and that’s all you need.
Enjoy what I do? Want to help me out?
First off, seriously consider grabbing Danielle Krysa’s book: Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk!
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