More on Artist’s Way

On the theme of Julia Cameron – during one of her sessions at the Writer’s Workshop, we were asked to think about our inner critic. I was pleased to work on unmasking this cowardly voice that lives deep inside my unconscious mind, who pops up every now again to shout insults (idiot! loser! duh!) and then retreat back to a place where I can’t find him again. I have been emboldened by Julia’s remark that this critic has never written or published anything, even though he appears to know the importance of everything, especially everything negative.


When Julia asked us to imagine our inner critic, it was a bit of a shock to realise that actually, my killjoy companion is not male but female. “Write down their name and then describe their character“, she said. I discovered that my critic was called Vanessa and she was negative, dismissive, discouraging, pessimistic and judgmental. Basically, a bitch! Yes, that described her to a T (just had to google how to write that Tee? Tea? apparently T!). I remember you Vanessa, I thought. Yes you, who in between your screaming accusations, whispered sour nothings in my ear. I think I might hate you!


After we had done this exercise we were invited to share what we had written with two other people in a cluster of three. I teamed up with Anu who I was sitting next to and a lovely young lady joined us. Before we began, we introduced ourselves. I nearly died when I heard our new female companion introduce herself. She smiled and said, “Hi, I’m Vanessa!”  Had I not have written down my words on the page, now clearly visible, I might have considered changing them. Instead, I apologised for the coincidence and explained that Vanessa was highly intelligent and in fact I had added ‘Prof’ next to her name in homage to her superior intellect. “What are the chances of this happening?” Vanessa asked and I’m not sure if it’s even calculable (I suppose if she was the only Vanessa in the room, then about 300:1 but what are the chances of anyone called being Vanessa being present?). I have no explanation of my choice, apart from the fact that this name just popped into my head.

hand writing in a journal that says "Vanessa (prof), negative, dismissive, discouraging, pessimistic, judgmental"

A sense of humour – phew!

Vanessa (the real one) had a sense of humour and her presence turned out to be a wonderful blessing. She made Vanessa much less powerful and showed me that actually, Vanessa may be useful. A connection has made in my mind and imagination between my critic and the real Vanessa. I don’t want Vanessa to go, because she is now a benign, often supportive, kind voice that sometimes shouts up some useful constructive feedback that I welcome. She can stay and I’m being vigilant to ensure that no other critic comes along to join her or take her place.


Please noteI am an early riser and frequently wake up with thoughts and questions on my mind. I write them down and record them in these short unedited, un-researched, unscientific bits of writing. They are written in a half asleep hypnopompic state and should not be regarded as anything more than what they are – random thoughts and musings. For sensible subjects and writing please visit Positive Psychology Learning website