02/02/2015 11:17 pm ET Updated Apr 04, 2015

Stop Criticizing and Start Creating


For a time in high school I thought of myself as a movie critic. I got in the habit of complaining about films, pointing out their every flaw. Whatever the problem -- shallow characters, unrealistic story, sloppy cinematography, overdone score, lack of tension, unbelievable plot -- I slammed it.

Eventually, I hated every movie I saw. And I made sure everyone knew it.

The power of criticism

Criticizing made me feel important. Powerful. Authoritative. Like I was smarter and more creative than the director, screenwriter, actors, and every fan who enjoyed the film.

Yet during this phase, I never once created anything. I never sat down to write a poem or short story. I never started a blog or photography exhibit. I never learned to paint or draw. I never tried my hand at writing a screenplay.

In short, I never put myself out there. I never subjected myself to judgment. Instead, I complained about other people's work.

Critics risk nothing while creators put everything on the line

For every creator there are a thousand critics.

No wonder. It's easier to criticize than create. Actually, it's really hard to create. It takes time and energy and creativity and focus and discipline. And it's scary.

Creators take an idea, craft it into something tangible, and release it into the world, opening themselves, and what they care about, to judgment and criticism.

I wonder if the core difference between critics and creators is a willingness to take risks. Because creators risk everything. And critics risk nothing.

Choose to create

I'm not sure about you, but I'm done criticizing.

I'm through judging other people's work, critiquing every flaw. I'm finished sitting on the sidelines, pretending I can play. I'm done watching others produce, while I only consume. I'm over feeling important and powerful and authoritative -- self-righteous -- at the expense of others. I'm past pushing others down on my way up.

I'm bored with it all.

I'm not saying there isn't a place for critics. I'm only saying I'm leaving that group. And I'm heading out on my own to create something new.

This post originally appeared at

Paul Perkins writes about living intentionally at Follow him on Facebook, and get a free copy of his eBook, The Art of Creating, about developing your artistic craft.