Slay the Critic

I’ve been posting on this blog three times a week since September 2011. I’ve talked about artists with day jobs, creativity comfort zones, and lip syncing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

But I often sit down and see all the white on this page…

Daunting Blank Page

And that’s a bit scary.

Have you felt this way?

We get down to our creative work and we sometimes hear all this crap from somewhere someone inside us that says…

  • You don’t have anything to say.
  • You’re wasting your time.
  • You’re arrogant to write a book/blog/      fill in the blank       .
  • No one will read this or find it helpful.
  • You don’t know what you’re talking about.
  • Go back to bed.
  • Go watch TV.
  • Check Facebook.
  • You’re unoriginal.
  • Stop now.
  • You write about creativity and you’re NOT creative.
  • You’ve nothing to show for your work.
  • Your work doesn’t matter.
  •                   add your own here                             .

Who (or what) is saying this? Why are they, or it, spewing the negativity forth.


You’re Not Saying It

Where is that voice coming from?

Some call it a critic, a monster, or a #@$%@$%&*.

It’s negativity. It’s all your failures rolled into one really bad teacher. It’s a beast that wants to keep you stuck on the couch of complacency, making excuses for not creating while crunching chips, candy, and carbohydrates.

Like a one night stand, it wants brief pleasure with no commitment. But it will chip away at your resolve leaving you searching for more momentary pleasure, weakening your ability to commit to a relationship, and leaving you with a pile of mornings of regret.


Why Do We Hear The Voice

We hear the voice because we have something to say.

We are the influencers.

You are an influencer.

You and I have more clout than politicians or preachers.

“Politicians don’t bring people together. Artists do.”

–Richard Daley, Former Mayor of Chicago

Though we hear the voice, we choose to listen to it or push it aside like the $#@% that it is.

Because that’s exactly what it is.


We hear the voice because we have something vitally important to say. 

Say it.

Share it.


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Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • Jim

    I really love the War of Art where Pressfield basically calls out these forces as “resistance”. Because I have a name or label for it, I think it is easier to call it out. I know what to look for to an extent. The fact all of us (ESPECIALLY writers) have some of the same fears, we should be quicker to identify what is stopping us than we are. Maybe it’s pride, maybe it’s that we’re scared, but I KNOW we are not alone. (That’s just another one of the lies to make us feel sorry for ourselves and to stop creating.)

    • Andrew Zahn

      We should all read Pressfield every few months for the reasons you bring up Jim.

  • I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way.

  • Great reminder, Andrew. If we didn’t have something to say, if we didn’t have the potential to help impact the lives of others, we wouldn’t face negativity.

    • Andrew Zahn

      In sales we always say “resistance is interest. ” it’s cool the same thing applies with our creativity.

  • Moira

    You bet. If it’s not the critic it’s the editor on the other shoulder tweaking the work before it’s even on the page. The trick is to breathe set each one aside and simply write on and on until what needs to be said comes. Write enough and it will.
    Thanks for that post Andrew as I think we all face those blank pages now and again.

    • Andrew Zahn

      Totally agree. It’s cool that when we dig into the work suddenly the blank page starts to take on different hues and colors.

  • Someone once said that evil prospers when great men do nothing. I think the general principle applies to creative work as well. Fantastic insights, Andrew.

    • Andrew Zahn

      It’s so fantastic that you pit it as a battle between good and evil. Because I really think it is.

      It’s so important for us to create.

  • wanyika

    Thanks for the post! you were speaking to me!!

    • Andrew Zahn

      Glad to hear it resonated with you Wanyika! Thanks so much for dropping by.

  • Thanks for the reminder, Andrew! I’m learning to turn off those voices more often, and keep on plugging away. Some days I fail miserably, but that doesn’t mean I can’t (and don’t or won’t) try again. 🙂

    • Andrew Zahn

      We can all fail together! Hooray for failures. In all seriousness, they do lay a foundation for success… if we don’t quit.