121: Reader Mailbag (XV)
Your responses re: process and outcomes.
Last week's post explored a paradox.
At the end, I wrote :
To pursue a creative vision, I think you need strong self-belief and some amount of openness and calm detachment. Both aspects are necessary.
But they also exist in tension.
Is it possible to invest fully in a creative process while also remaining gently disconnected from any specific outcome?
I got some great replies!
Here's what readers sent in :
To your last point on reconciling the tension, I think it might be focusing on the joy: What is the joy that bridges the passion with the detachment?
As a recovering marketer, I'm repulsed by social media. But alas, I can't deny the fun from bantering with friends and sharing my work online. How might I focus on that, rather than the ickyness of the platform itself?
For me, a common obstacle is the "Philosophy of the Impossible Standards”. That is, some vision of a “perfect” outcome. An impossibly-high standard that always means "not good enough".
One has to be content with good enough.
Another is that viewing creativity as a competition leads to comparison. There lies the tension and contradiction.
Can relate to the impediments.
I'd add one: I believe that what I create must be useful.
If not to me, then to someone. Sometimes I only half-heartedly believe that the act of creating is an end in and of itself.
For me, the inner critic is just as a much friend as foe.
My analogy would include the equivalent of sparring (testing yourself) and working with a trainer (getting outside perspectives) along the way.
I try to invite a select few people into my writing process so that they can help me identify where my inner critic is correctly pointing to weaknesses, flaws, bad ideas - and where I'm just being too hard on myself.
For me, this involves creating a "panel of judges" so that I can balance out my self-criticism and put it in context. In the end, I'm my own biggest critic.
Wisdom comes from living in dynamic tension with opposing forces.
Of course, we often do not feel ready when in fact we are.
As children, I think we are drawn to create for its own sake.
Then at some point, our parents put that drawing on the refrigerator, and it's as though we realize that our work can be exchanged for more (recognition, acceptance, love, money etc.).
After reading this, it reminded of how important timing is re: grading and measurement. It was a bit early to price my pottery at my recent attempt at selling. Too early in the process, when I'm still experimenting and learning.
I recognize what a privilege it is to be able to extend this learning stage.
What about listening as an act of creation?
Thanks for the mail.
I love getting your replies.