Another way to distance yourself from the critique and take it more objectively is the project format of work. If you have 2-3 projects running in parallel, positive feedback to easier projects will make it easier for you to take on more experimental ones that might get a lot of rejections. If you have a more analytical mind, the project structure will also help you to build research and reflection into your workflow more organically.

Different projects can last from one week of intense work to year-long monsters that take up say 10hours a week. One example of a short project is renting cool space or going on the road trip (say you drive every other day and shoot every other day for a week). The example of a long project can be getting to 10k followers in 3 or 6 month time or publishing a photo-book.

Project structure can help you create pockets of time when you can be absolutely free and creative, ignore your inner critic, and then use the time between for editing and reflection and maybe seeking feedback. It will also make you balance the effort to create vs. promote your work. Let's look at 2 examples.

When I first came to the US, I decided to create a project about dreams. The root of it was a photo shoot that I did for a friend about always feeling unready to what life send your way. We wanted to use a cool suit in a trailer park and play volleyball in the snow. The result looked cool but didn't have the clash I was hoping for, so it made me think about how I can use strange things in a frame and still make it look natural just by the way I would shoot. This plus emotions from relocation plus reading Gabriel Garcia Marques created enough motivation for the project. I spent a bit of time learning about different theories about dreams, writing some of my dreams down, and asking people about theirs. Then I did 12 simple photoshoots (no team, or occasionally an MUA). Because I wanted to fit it all in 3 months of summer, I worked exclusively on this series (+ clients, of course) the whole time. Then I added some text and created a small book out of it and used it to get an exhibition. By working on this project, I expressed my emotions regarding relocation, gaining experience working in a more surrealistic direction, starting my network in Boston, and establishing my reputation by inviting critical people to my fancy opening. I obviously wouldn't do most of it if I would just do random photoshoots here and there.

Another example of a project (less creative one) is this very blog. When I just started photography, being a student in Moscow, I couldn't afford, nor I had access to photography education, so several blogs by photographers I liked and respected were a regular part of my training and motivation. So after 12 years in the field, I decided I can give some of it back. I started by organizing several masterclasses in Boston and San Francisco and joining and browsing through a lot of online groups to see what problems beginning photographers actually face. Then I started the blog mixing up tutorials and QA and comparing the response. For a couple of months, I wrote every day, and sometimes it was hard (especially as some people made fun of my English), but even when it wasn't my day, it didn't feel like a failure. Maybe I felt like this particular project isn't doing so well at the moment, and left a lot to desire, but a) it was just one of my activities, not something that defines me, b) I know it's not the time for reflection yet. So I was going to power through for at least a month before sitting down and evaluating the project. And luckily in a month thing didn't look too bad :)

Here it goes: if you feel your inner critic or media feedback sabotage your creativity, create a project-based workflow, and let it be less about you and more about the subject. Free-create-reflect-repeat.