Sunday, January 25, 2015

Guest Post : Squiggle and Swirl : Long Service Leave For My Inner Critic

Hello and welcome to One Small Life's first Guest Post for 2015!  

Some of you may know that toward the end of last year I hit a flat patch, I needed some time out.  I needed to simplify and to take the pressure off.  (Not that my life is remotely pressured -  but sometimes you just hit those patches, ya know?)  I tried to turn this negative into a positive.  I knew I needed a break from blogging, but I didn't want to just let it languish.  So I out put a call to to some of the wonderful bloggers I have 'met' through Blog with Pip, and they replied.  In spades.  It was wonderful.  Wonderful because I loved seeing such varied content and voices here at One Small Life - it was fun playing host!  And wonderful because I know that each and every one of those blogger contributed to help me out - it was an awesome show of support.

I really enjoyed the whole process, so I'm going to do it more.  In order to create a bit more balance, in my life and here as well I'm aiming for monthly Guest Posts.  And hopefully with a bit more planning and forethought I'll be casting the net a bit wider than Blog with Pip and bringing you some diverse voices from the blogging world.  That's my intention anyway.

Now.  If you are not familiar with Emily at Squiggle and Swirl you are in for real treat.  Emily is on a very personal creative journey.  And she is documenting it all at her lovely blog.  She has created such a lovely nurturing place there - I always feel somewhat filled up after I visit.  She is honest, and that's always brave.

Why is it so hard for so many of us to embrace our creative desires?

Annette at I Give you The Verbs has been pondering the same thing here.

And whenever I ponder this myself I can't help but think of my children.  We would never be as harsh on our kids as we are on ourselves.  We would never be more concerned about the outcome than the process with them.  We would never say, "Well that painting/ drawing/ story/ effort at solving a maths equation/ spelling a word/ handwriting was pretty crap.  Didn't turn out too well, did it?  I'm not putting that one up on the wall.  In fact I think you should just give up.  It's pretty obvious you're hopeless."

Can you even imagine?

And yet I'll tell you that this diatribe is pretty close to what I tell myself about most of my creative endeavours.  It's paralysing.  So this year I am going to aim to use the voice I use with my kids inside my own mind: "That's great. Good try.  I love what you've done there.  Don't give up.  Just have a go. It's just for fun."  Because after all I think most of us can agree that what we want to get out of creative pursuits we get from the process, not from the result.  If we like the result, bonus.  If someone else likes the result, double bonus.  But really it's just for us.  It's just for fun, right? Let's lighten up!

Squiggle & Swirl's Emily has a great strategy for this.  So why don't I stop banging on about it and hand you over to her.  Enjoy! x

Guest Post : Squiggle and Swirl : Long Service Leave For My Inner Critic

This lovely watercolour is a Squiggle and Swirl original
As I responded to a comment about not listening to my inner critic and believing that will make her quieter, I had the idea to give her long service leave. 

She certainly has earned it! I'm going to be kind to her and say," go somewhere nice, take as long as you want (at least a year)".

I am a good person and a fair employer, I won't sack her, or poison her and bury her. 

Essentially she is part of me, she is me. 

But she is a me that I don't want to be guided by, not right now, not anymore.

And you know what, she has been quieter lately (having enforced time off). 

Someone new has been around a lot more. 

She delights in the simple things I create. 

She praises me for colour choices, for shapes I draw, for starting and for trying. 

She seems to think just about everything I do is awesome (inner critic doesn't like her).

She is the kindest most positive person, and she's happy, so happy. 

Plus she's great company. 

Actually, I think I may promote her.

I don't know what I'll call her yet, but she is me. 

Maybe I'll just call her Emily :)

P.s If your inner critic is holding you back, and long service leave is too much to contemplate, I can recommend at least starting with giving them a day off.

Do you have trouble quietening your inner critic?

Listen to: Taylor Swift Mean


  1. Lovely post Emily/Kate! We need to remember to be kind to ourselves. They say we are our own worst critic but I think we can be our own most enthusiastic cheerleader too! x

    1. You are so right Karen - but it takes a special kind of discipline, doesn't it? x

  2. Yes, to lightening up and being easier on ourselves Kate ! I love your monthly guest post idea - it helps to share the love of those other wonderful blogs out there that can go undiscovered if not shared - Emily's words are gorgeous (as are yours !) x

    1. Thanks so much Ing - I'm so pleased you like the Guest Post idea - I'd love for you to do one! Blogging can be a solitary pursuit, so it's great to cultivate collaboration. I love Emily's blog too, it's lovely. x

  3. Wonderful solution to a flat patch & to pesky inner critics alike! Job well done ladies :)