Creativity · Mental Health · Writing

The Right Attitude

One of the drawbacks to being creative is dealing with disappointment. It can be awful when one of your projects doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, or when people don’t like it, or things just fall apart. I’ve had stories that I simply couldn’t make work. I’ve had stories that never made it past the first draft. I’ve had people tell me something I’d written sucked and I should find something else to do with my time.

All real things that I’ve dealt with. And yes, it can be a blow to the ol’ self-esteem and self-confidence. I think it can be especially hard for creative people who may be immature or new to the game, who aren’t experienced enough to handle these let downs.

I used to let these things get to me. They’d get under my skin, inside my head, and fester. It was like having an infection of negativity. It was unpleasant and on several occasions almost got me to give up on creativity altogether. I figured, screw it. I’ll spend all my time playing games on my PC and reading comic books.

Eventually, however, I realized that I didn’t need to let these thing get in my head and live there rent-free. Art, like humor, is subjective. What one person likes may not appeal to another. For example, some people love Monty Python (myself included), but others find it stupid and nonsensical. No one here is right or wrong, it’s just personal taste, personal opinions. And just because one person does or doesn’t like something doesn’t mean that everyone else should hate or love it. Again, it’s up to the individuals.

To me, people who create have to have the right attitude when it comes to their art. That being, don’t worry about what other people think. Don’t worry about it if a project blows up in your face. Don’t get upset when the project doesn’t turn out as good as you hoped it would.

Why? Because it doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that you can start over. You can clean up the mess and begin again. You can show your work to someone else who may love it. Or at least like it.

The bottom line is that YOU need to be happy with what you’re doing. Are you writing a story that you’re in love with? Fantastic! Are you painting a picture or illustrating a story and it’s all coming together? Awesome! Did you write a song that you can’t stop humming and singing? Excellent!

You see, creativity is all about self-expression. I know I repeat this quite often, but it’s true. It’s about you, what you have to say or express or convey. We create not only because we have a need to, but also because it makes us happy. That’s all that really matters here. And in order to be happy we have to have a selfish attitude when it comes to our art. As long as what you’ve done works for you, then it’s a success.

And those projects that don’t work out? Well, so what? Start over. Try again. Come at it from a different angle. That’s one of the great things about creating, you can do whatever you want, as many times as you want, until you get it right. Or at least as close to right as it can be.

Don’t worry about an audience, about who may like it or who may hate it. Don’t worry about making money off it or becoming famous. It’s all about the creative process and making yourself happy.

Be sure to do something creative today. Not because you have to, but because you want to.

RB

 

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