Once upon time there was a young girl who really wanted to make a living using her creative inner voice. Along the journey she met many people who cheered her on, and some that didn’t. One of them told her she wasn’t good enough to make any money (older brother). One of them told her she was a “marshmallow”and the type of person who could quit at any minute (college art professor). Neither one of these people actually knew her very well, did they? Yet they thought it was okay to crush her hopes and dreams with a sentence. I refer to people who think it’s okay to talk to other people like this as Ogres, for they truly display similar characteristics to these faerie tale creatures.
Many artists and writers struggle with these Ogres. Ogres are strong-willed and hard-headed and when you let one of them catch you in its clutches, it’s almost impossible to escape. Many of us carry Ogres in our heads too– the mean voices that keep telling us we aren’t any good, we’ll never make it, or our work will never amount to anything. I’m sure you’ve heard them nattering on.
How do you ban these creatures from your kingdoms? Well, I say, grab your torch and pitchfork! Use the pitchfork to toss ’em out on their butts and then light a creative fire with your torch that you protect with your life. Don’t let the Ogres get near it with a pail of water. Learn to let what the Ogres say go in one ear and out the other. If you can’t do that– maybe it’s time to pack up and head for the swamp. Get some physical distance between you and your Ogres. My good friend Susan would say, keep a journal. Write down what the Ogre said and then counteract it with three things you know about your writing or art that disprove their statement. Sooner or later the words coming out of the Ogres mouth will sound like blah, blah, blah and the power the Ogre had over you will disappear.