Pursuing a passion can be daunting. Not everyone appreciates our art. We don’t get the attention we want. Or worse yet – people DO start noticing, and fear creeps in, whispering doubts into our ear.
It seems like either way, there are triggers that can easily lead to failure. How do we get around this, stay grounded in our creativity, and keep practicing in public to refine our skills? Here are the answers I have discovered over the past few months.
1) Seek out encouragers. Find people who believe in us, who see the potential in our work. Who will be advocates for us. Cheerleaders are wonderful and necessary for us as creative types, who can get easily downtrodden. Often these encouragers can be writers or other artists who have matured more than you in their craft. These people are invaluable to long term success, but it’s not enough.
2) We also need honest feedback. This is a more difficult pill to swallow, and one we would prefer to avoid. We all need constructive criticism on our work to improve, but this is far different than our encouragers. We don’t necessarily choose our cheerleaders, but we must choose those to include in our feedback loop. People we trust, who understand our path and our creative goal. I have already found two people who will give me specific, honest feedback on my writing. I walk away from each ‘edit session’ a little more humble, and a much better writer.
3) Your blog is not your diary. I learned this lesson the hard way. I guest posted earlier this week with Unknown Jim, but wrote the first draft of this piece before Christmas. Here is the quote from that taught me this lesson:
On occasion, even my wife learns something about me by reading my blog.
My wife and I had an argument over this sentence. Not because she didn’t think it was honest, but because it was. And she told me so. I was writing and publishing posts without anyone reading them first. It wasn’t my best work, because I was missing the chance to get honest feedback from the one person I trust most in this life. No more, and my writing is better for it. My message is clearer…and I have fewer typos.
4) Avoid Hero Worship. We have to avoid setting our goals as a person.
I want to be just like Seth Godin. Michael Hyatt is my idol. [Insert your hero here.]
These thoughts destroy our own creativity and place us in a box designed by another. Each one of us is created uniquely, with a different voice and a separate message. Your message will resonate with the people you connect with, but this will never happen if you do not step into your own voice and create your own artistry.
What would you add to this list?