Creativity and Fear

“It’s not the critic who counts…”

If the critic doesn’t count, why do their negative voices bother us so much?

I’m being a little selfish today and writing something to HELP ME. I hope that it helps you too.

photo credit: maskedcard via photo pin cc

If you create ANYTHING and you share that creation on a public platform, you are going to get negative feedback and criticism eventually. You can’t stop the negative. There will always be drains.

So, then what do you do?

Help is all around


A post on Twitter by @RachelintheOC grabbed my attention a few days ago. Her tweet said she bet we couldn’t remember what our last positive reviews said, but she was certain we could remember word for word what our negative reviews were.

That’s a little hard to swallow, especially when it hits so close to home, but it set my mental wheels turning.

Why do we latch on to the negative? For some of us, we let those negative seeds wiggle their way into our creative fertile minds, and then… nothing good comes from that.

Awesome Blog Post by Beth Revis – How to Respond to Negative Reviews 

Go there, read it. Find out how bacon, Harry Potter, puppies and Where the Wild Things Are can give you some perspective on negative reviews.

Those Who’ve Climbed the Mountain Before Us

Thank goodness we don’t have to reinvent the wheel…

Seth Godin calls it the Lizard Brain – that part of our minds that focuses on the negative. Characteristics of the lizard brain – fear, compromise, work to fit in, fear the critics. Playing it safe creatively = lizard brain. You can find his blog post “Quieting the lizard brain” here.

Hugh MacLeod, author and artist says Ignore Everybody. Here’s why – “GOOD IDEAS ALTER THE POWER BALANCE IN RELATIONSHIPS, THAT IS WHY GOOD IDEAS ARE ALWAYS INITIALLY RESISTED. Good ideas come with a heavy bur­den. Which is why so few peo­ple have them. So few peo­ple can handle it.” I love Hugh’s blog, by the way – Gapingvoid. You can find the blog post “Ignore Everybody” here.

Steven Pressfield calls it the Resistance. It’s the voice in our head that feeds on the negative, that says “go slow, be careful, back off”. Pressfield says “Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet.  It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction.  To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit.  It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. ” Find out more about the Resistance and how to defeat it in The War of Art by Pressfield.

Here’s a video of Pressfield about “Overcoming Resistance“. It’s two and a half minutes. Good ideas about the attitude of Turning Pro.


Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear your ideas and tips in the comments.

About melindamcguirewrites

The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. ------ William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Speech, Stockholm, 1950
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4 Responses to Creativity and Fear

  1. Great post, Melinda! Negative reviews do sting, but if you look at some of the reviews the best-sellers get, you’ll not feel so bad about them. Take the Fifty Shades Trilogy or Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books for example! These women are extremely successful, yet the amount of negative comments and the level of harshness of some peoples’ comments are unbelievable!

  2. Great post! I was just discussing negative reviews yesterday – or the day before yesterday – and how it just meant that the book wasn’t a good fit for that reader, and not to let it get under your skin. I know, easier said than done. But, it does get easier. The first bad review I got made me depressed for days. Now I get out of sorts for an hour or so and then I’m done with it. I imagine eventually it will just be a little flicker and then move on.

    • Joleene,
      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂
      It really did give me some perspective to go and read the one and two star reviews for William Faulkner’s work and Mark Twain. I think their work is brilliant, so it does give some perspective.

  3. zencherry says:

    I’m one of those people that at first gets ‘hurt’ but within 5 minutes is like ‘well hell with them, the no-class buggers’. Anger works for me. 😀

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