First Advisor

Mari Schay

Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Music (B.M.) in Music: Education and University Honors


Music & Theater




songwriting, inner critic, creativity, constraints, time, collaboration




The inner critic is a common foe within creative disciplines, and with it comes a host of internal obstacles such as anxiety, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, writer’s block, and more, that cause stress and conspire to keep artists from realizing their full creative potential. In this paper, I utilize research methods as well as self-reflection to consider how songwriters can implement the external constraints of time and collaboration to get around internal obstacles and introduce more freedom into the creative process. I examine the strategies of quantity over quality, maintaining an improv mindset, and amending expectations to explain how the inner critic can be put to more effective use. I recount the details of a songwriting workshop I hosted in April 2023 to implement these ideas and strategies, and look at participant feedback, and consider how these principles might apply outside the realm of the arts. I hope to continue building on these ideas in order to provide more opportunities for songwriters to redefine their relationship with creativity, where self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and anxiety play a much smaller and more manageable role.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier