On Banishing Your Inner Critic

Posted by on Sep 20, 2011 in Articles, Inspiration, Productivity, Writing | 9 Comments
On Banishing Your Inner Critic

I don’t know about you, but I have a very loud, insistent, and mean roommate. Sometimes he’s quiet and well-behaved, and we maintain an amicable truce. Other times – most often when I am trying to produce something brilliant – he’s raucous and destructive, yelling demoralizing epithets at me and keeping me from doing the kick-ass work I know I can do.

I would love to kick him out: take all of his belongings and put them out on the lawn with a “FREE” sign on it all, change the keys on all of the locks, and refuse to receive any of his calls. There’s only one problem: he’s in my head. Don’t look at me askance; he’s not an “imaginary friend”. He’s the troll under my subconscious bridge. He’s my inner critic.

If you have a similar mental companion, check out the article “Banishing Your Inner Critic” that I wrote for the esteemed A List Apart to get a litany of tips and pointers on how to oust him from his post so you can claim your awesomeness and do great work.

ps – shout out to my dear friend and awesome writer in his own right, Daniel O’Donnell (aka The Oscar Delta), for doing an awesome first pass edit on the article for me! Teamwork rocks.


  1. Kirsten
    September 21, 2011

    Denise – you rock. Just came across this article via a friend. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with a side of humour. Exactly what I needed today.

    • Denise Jacobs
      September 25, 2011

      Kirsten, you are so, so very welcome! That article is near and dear to my heart: a process that I still struggle with and hope to overcome myself one day. I figured that I couldn’t possibly be alone, and so wanted to write something to help other people know that they rock and can go out and kick some major butt.

  2. Serge Ovanesyan
    September 27, 2011

    Hello Denise,

    I just stumbled upon your article in ALA and I loved it.

    You know the moment when you read something and you suddenly realize that’s how you feel.

    That’s what your article was for me.


    Greetings from Sofia, Bulgaria.

    • Denise Jacobs
      September 27, 2011

      Serge, thank you for your comment! I understand completely, it happens to me all of the time! I am so glad the article spoke to you and I really hope that you got some good tips that you can practice to help quiet that inner voice that tries to tear you down. Let me know how the progress goes!

  3. Pete
    October 21, 2011

    Hi Denise,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this article.

    I too saw your article in ALA and it really really spoke to me.

    I’ve been in IT since the early 80’s and first started web design in 1994. However, in recent years, my inner critic has been telling me that I really am not up to scratch now and younger designers would kick my ass.

    The truth is though, that I can learn and keep up with new technologies as well as anyone can.

    Anyway. Thank you so much for your article.

    Many blessings upon you.




  4. Richard Bland
    January 10, 2012

    Hi Denise,

    I just wanted to say thank you for this article. It has helped to reaffirm that it is a natural process of one’s psyche and one that can be controlled if you choose to take charge.

    I’ve struggled for years with negative chitter chatter but as long as you stay focused with intent, and take the baby steps even when you feel demotivated or worthless (in my case), you will get things done.

    Thanks again


  5. Starred on Google Reader: Permission to be horrible and other ways to generate creativity | william j. moner
    March 7, 2012

    […] amazing feeling that you can take on the world, both for myself to help other people. So I wrote an article as a way to solidify my own techniques and to help anybody else who may need to silence a mean […]

  6. Dealing With Your Inner Critic
    September 20, 2012

    […] Originally published here. […]


Leave a Reply