Experiment #31: Give Your Inner Critic a Silly Name

BY DIANNE JACOB, Food Writing Coach

BY DIANNE JACOB, Food Writing Coach

Need a fresh idea for dealing with your inner critic? Of course you do. The critic never goes away. The issue is how to deal with him or her.

I read about an idea you might find useful: Give your critic a silly name. That way, his or her negative pronouncements about your abilities carry less weight.

I tried this approach with a talented client who can't seem to get around to writing. I suggested she name her critic Mildred. My client giggled. Suddenly, the critic seemed goofy. She had less power.

It makes sense to name your inner critic after Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce.

It makes sense to name your inner critic after Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce.

We talked about how helpful Mildred can be in other areas of my client's life: in food styling, recipe development, creating a beautiful home, and designing a photo for Instagram, for example. My client relies on Mildred to help her make good decisions through criticism. But somehow, Mildred isn't helpful to her when it comes to her own writing.

Ethel is a great inner critic name.

Ethel is a great inner critic name.

Isn't that interesting? Now the challenge is to get Mildred to help her in this final arena, where Mildred has been harsh. My client reports that "the writing has begun...slow and steady." Hooray!

It all sounds quite logical, but as we know, taming the inner critic is a slippery process. I've dealt with her messages in my head forever. But I'm naming her Bertha now, or maybe Ethel. Already I like her better.