The Enemies of Creativity

These terms were coined by author Jack Heffron in his book, “The Writer’s Idea Book.” The descriptions following each term are paraphrased, and include my own solutions to combating the enemies, all of whom I have come up against.

Which ones do you find nag you relentlessly?


This is a great word. Sounds a little like a super villain, doesn’t it? We’ve all met this guy. We wake up with the intention to pull out the laptop, but then we hear a little whisper in our ears, “This week isn’t that great to start on that new chapter. You have so much going on already… kids’ soccer, work, that dinner party. This weekend would be better.”

Then, surprise, surprise… that weekend doesn’t work out either. Too much to do, and not enough time to do it.

The solution? It sounds simple… just do it. Ignore the voice. Literally block off time for writing so that there is no excuse.


This bitch doesn’t know how to shut up. The Talker gets a great idea on how to broaden her protagonist, or the perfect situation to shake up a scene, then BAM she feels the need to tell everyone in her writers group, her significant other, her neighbor, her dog… and then the magic is gone. Her great idea is dead. The Talker is an expert as squandering the creative nest egg.

Next time you feel this urge coming on, look in the mirror and tell yourself to shut the hell up. Put the phone away. Pretend that you’re writing is a secret, because it is. Keep those great ideas selfishly tucked away until the day that they are all polished and ready to be released onto the world.


“This isn’t good enough.”


“Why did you think this idea would work out? Its not interesting and no one will

read it.”

Get the picture? The Critic has nothing good to say. She forces you to edit and reedit every line as you write, sometimes deleting it all because she says that it’s hopeless.

Tell her to fuck off. Keep writing just to spite her.


The Judge is probably the hardest to combat, because she is your conscience. You’re happily tapping away, and before you know it, an hour has gone by. It’s then that the Judge sneaks up on you. “Um, excuse me, but shouldn’t you be paying the bills, or playing with the kids, or doing the laundry, or raking the yard, or….”

Guilt is hard to overcome, especially if its something you’ve heard from loved ones. Your significant other isn’t sensitive to your need for creative space, or your family is demanding of your attention.

Just get over it. You can’t be a good spouse/parent/roommate/daughter/son if you aren’t fulfilling your own needs as well as the needs of others. Spend time on you, too.


The Author is easily hated among writers groups. They see every single writing moment as valid ONLY if it leads to publication. They don’t believe in exercises in creativity or in something as silly as “free writing.” They see their efforts as wasted if they don’t get a publication from it.

This aspect of every writer needs a reality check. Everyone has had their moment of “why am I even bothering if nothing comes from it?” But you have to understand that something IS coming from it. With every exercise, you grow. The more you grow, the better you will be, and the more likely you will be to get that publication. Keep that in mind to quell the Author.

3 thoughts on “The Enemies of Creativity

  1. Oh, the Critic. That's my demon. Great post, Katrina! You've caught them all by their tails and hung them for display.Now, if I could only put a muzzle on my Critic (I lovingly call him my "Gremlin") I'd be a lot happier and more productive…

  2. I've met all but the author in the mirror. However, in others I've seen all of these. I have 'why do I bother' moments, but it's more like "Why do I bother submitting?" than writing. I'd never stop that. The writing part isn't about publication, it's about need. I think most often it's the critic that gets me. I have supper to cook, dishes to wash, kids to attend to…I smell like a pile of garbage because I forgot to shower…you know, those things that my critic thinks might be more important than one more chapter.

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