Creativity Killers: Critics

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This is the fifth creativity post in a series by guest contributor, Patricia Ryan. We previously finished up Part 2 of 2 on fear.

Nothing can send all your creative juices running down the drain faster than negative criticism. One negative comment, even when it’s intended to be helpful, can wipe out all the confidence and enthusiasm you’ve been working to build up. If the things people say bother you, you must find ways to completely ignore everything that is not actually helpful or useful to you. At best, all anyone else can tell you is how they would do what they think you want to do; they can’t put themselves in your place.

You can learn things from what people say, but what you’re learning is what they react to. What is it they comment on? Color? Idea? Size? If you do plan to make things for others, it is useful to learn what others care about.

If you ever find someone who “gets” what you’re doing, ask them every question you can think of! With everyone else, just let it go in one ear and out the other. Remember, these are your ideas and your work, and what others think really only matters to them. My pet peeve is people who don’t do anything creative whatsoever, but are brimming over with ideas they insist on telling you. What I learned from them is that creativity is contagious, and far too many people have creative energy they never use. I tell them they should act on their ideas (“You should do that!”), and I keep saying that until they stop telling me what they would do. I always hope they’ll get inspired and start creating.

If you find yourself obsessing on what others say about your work, ask yourself if you agree with it. If you don’t, throw it out. If you do, treat it as if it were your own idea. Which feels better, your original idea, this other one, or some combination of the two? Remember—what you do is completely up to YOU.

Next time: Creativity Killers: Rules

©2013 by Patricia M. Ryan, a multi-media artist in Beavercreek, OR, and the author of “First Aid For Your Menopause Emotions”. You can see her art at


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