As children we tend not to need other’s permission or approval to do something creative, to go for something that we want or feel we need to do. We have a unyielding confidence that paves the way for ultimate belief in our vision and skills at conveying and achieving its means ends.
Of course we also expect to be naturally praised for our efforts and heralded as the genius architects of our creation, I mean after all why wouldn’t we be?
At one point or another, however short or long lived, as a child you had the confidence to just go for whatever ideas came into your head without any doubt that you could or would fail and without a second thought that those around you would love it.
Yet as we come into our own in a world ready to riddle one with doubts we become ever more in need of approval and reassurance that we are doing well and not wasting our time.
What ever happened to just going with it and for it? With just doing?
Society is based on the pack mentality that can pray into the insecurities of wanting to fit in, to be loved, to be liked and accepted for who you are and what you provide. When one is a creative it can feel a lot like being lost at sea just waiting to be picked up by something, anything that will throw you a lifeline.
It can be a needy and thankless business. It is based in subjectivity after all, and not everyone is going to love your work, however it can seem so hard when you are just starting out to have anyone love or notice your work at all. To find your niche and fan-base, to find proof that you’re not just creating or – to borrow a phrase from Hemingway – bleeding into the void.
It can become all too consuming trying to find someone to “approve” of your work, to get it on a level that feels in and of itself satisfying.
I myself have had a hard go of it. When I started I was an unstoppable force, I had focus and confidence in what I was doing and how it would be received, I knew it was good, I knew it was worthwhile. Yet those around me merely viewed it with indifference, a fate worse then outright hate or judgment because at least with those you’re stirring an emotion, your provoking a reaction.
Time and time again to give someone my work and wait for them to read it until I eventually asked if they had gotten a chance to only to receive a simple “Oh, yeah, I did.” reply and that’s it!
Well suffice it to say it will eventually break your heart and have you questioning your souls work all together. Until all you seek is critique, is response to something you have poured so much of your time, effort and life into. You may even begin pandering. Began trying to prove to yourself that you can write “marketable” material. Can write more “mainstream”by following conventional standards and rules.
I’m not trying to be a snob here really, it’s not that my work is that “avant guard” or revolutionary, but it’s mine, in my style, my genre, my way. The thing is that I began to question my choices. Began to question my judgement and my skills so I tried to prove to myself my adaptability, tried to experiment in something that I could do that would sell so that I could support my true passion as a hobby.
That’s right, I designated what I loved to a hobby, all because I felt by failing to resonate with readers I was proving that my work had no audience, and a creator without an audience is somewhat a creator without a purpose.
We don’t just create because we can but because we want to share, we yearn to share that which is our souls desire, the thing that makes us happiest with something greater then ourselves as a means to provide it for other people, as a means to spark life into others with that which sparked life into us. When you love so much of what you do you don’t want to be alone with it you want to express with it! And expression is all about the directly and distinctly stated. If what you are doing repeatedly gets lost so too do you.
It can be a hard thing to find your way back home once lost, once permeated by doubt and fear. Suddenly your energies get fractured and frantic, you stop creating with the precision and ease that was once at your command. Suddenly the things you have created seem tainted by the lack you perceive in yourself. You suddenly start approaching your own work with the same indifference, only this indifference it is laced with the disdain you feel for it, for the lackluster, for the fault.
When one waste too much time on reception they lose their power of conception. It becomes a hard cycle to break. Once you are effected so too is your work, so even if you go on creating your need for approval will leak through and your disheartened perception will lead to even more discouraging reception.
You will build it up in your head as something you need in order to proceed but unfortunately you can’t receive unless you proceed, unless you accept the time it takes to build a presence and find your audience.
If you want to know where your heart is…look to where your mind goes when it wonders. – Vi Keeland
This means something, don’t ignore where your mind goes to be happy, what you do to feel whole. Even if, for now, it’s solitary company. Because in the end yours is the opinion that truly matters. If you are what you do then do, for god’s sake, indifference, demoralizing, haters be damned!
Because if you believe so too will others even if it has to be eventually. You can’t expect respect if first you don’t respect yourself. You can’t expect love if you don’t first love yourself. Lead by example.
If you build it they will come, but you have to continue to build! You have to first be able to clap for yourself, high five your ass in public and stay true to the confidence that led you to begin in the first place.
You’re awesome,, let the world know it, but let yourself know it first!