Being an actor seems like the most fun job in the world. You ostensibly get to "play pretend" for a living. But sometimes for myself, and perhaps for you, it isn't fun. When my inner critic gets involved, it can suck all of the joy out of the process.

I spent a few years solely teaching and not acting because putting my ass out there was too scary. This thing I used to love stopped being fun because my inner critic got so loud that it might as well have been called my "inner bully." Recently I've come to realize that avoiding acting (or whatever your creative craft is) doesn't make the fear go away, it just shows up in other aspects of your life -creative or otherwise.

A few weeks ago, I started taking an art class. I used to love painting and I thought it would be fun to take a figure drawing class. I was having a great time doing gesture drawing when the teacher came up to me and made an innocent comment: "Don't go over that line you just drew." I froze up. The pleasure of creating went away and that seemingly innocuous statement activated my inner critic. "You don't belong here." "It was a mistake to sign up for this class." "You don't know how to draw." "You're the worst artist here."

Then I got mad! How dare my inner critic show up here! This was something I was supposed to be doing purely for fun. Is my inner critic going to show up and steal my pleasure and my joy every time I do something creative?!? That's not fair!

I had thought my inner critic only came out to play when I was acting. Now I realized it will rear its ugly head no matter what the creative endeavor. I've been giving fear way too much power in my life. It's been dictating what I do and don't do. And the more power it has, the less joy I experience.

The inner critic is always going to be there looking for the right moment to strike. If I can't get it out of my head completely, how can I work with it so it doesn't control me? I have a few ideas:

•Recognize it for what it is. It is the voice of fear; it is NOT your true voice.

•Treat it as something separate from yourself. Imagine your inner critic as a friend who sits next to you. Would you let someone speak to you the way your inner critic does? I wouldn't! Say to your inner-critic, "Thanks for the input, but I got this!"

•Acknowledge the fear is there. Don't deny it. Do your creative work anyway. By not practicing your creative work, you've shown the inner critic that it's powerful, that it can control you and can prevent you from being creative. Instead, "feel the fear and do it anyway."

•Take time to journal. Writing down what you're inner critic says can be so helpful because when you see it on the page, you can call it out for the bullish*t that it is. Writing it down will help you discover what is underneath the critic and that is a huge step towards quieting its voice.

•Take time for stillness every day. Meditate or go inward in a way that works for you. Meditation has a cumulative effect that will start showing up in other areas of your life. When you meditate, you're a more centered human. And when you're centered in yourself that voice isn't going to be nearly as loud. Plus, you'll be able to recognize the "inner critic" more quickly (rather than falsely identifying the voice as your own).

Author's Bio: 

I offer one-on-one coaching in a supportive and holistically minded environment that encourages clients to become more fearless actors and public speakers. I'm passionate about the craft of acting and am eager to help you realize your full potential. My teaching philosophy combines Meisner technique, Linklater and MVM voice work, as well as Michael Chekhov technique. I also use holistic strategies to get you feeling empowered and connected to your creativity. I have my MFA in Acting from Rutgers University where I studied with William Esper and Lloyd Richards, among others. I'm also a teacher of the Miller Voice Method and mentored under Scott Miller, professor of voice at NYU's prestigious Graduate Acting Program. I've taught at Rutgers University- Mason Gross School of the Arts and New York Film Academy. For more information please visit: