Flexing my creative side is daunting, but I am much more joyful when I do it. So I’ve been keeping this Randy Newman advice close. It was intended for songwriters, but it is wisdom for anybody:
Don’t let the critic become bigger than the creator. Don’t let it strangle you. Go ahead and say, ‘I saw this girl. She was the best girl in the world.’ Let it go. Put a string of stuff together. Go ahead.1
When my critic is bigger than my creator, and I write a lyric like that, it’s not pretty. Seriously? my critic says. This is what we’re working with? It’s juvenile. It’s garbage. You really can’t do any better? When my critic is bigger than my creator, I shrink. I don’t allow myself to be silly, average, and exploratory. So I don’t find new gears.
But when my creator is bigger than my critic, everything changes. I am more playful. I allow myself to be silly, average, and exploratory. I give myself space to learn, practice, and grow. When my creator is bigger than my critic, I follow ideas with less judgment and more curiosity. Some take me to inspiring places. Some make me laugh. Others become river hours.
Randy Newman’s advice encourages me to seek a healthier balance between my creator and my critic. I hope it does the same for you.
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