"And that's the only reason Eat Pray Love didn't throw me off my path as a writer--because of my deep and lifelong conviction that the results of my work don't have much to do with me. I can only be in charge of producing the work itself. That's a hard enough job." - Elizabeth Gilbert
"If you only create a few things, you will feel attached to them. If you are constantly creating, you will feel free." - Yogi Bhajan
If you write one book, you'll spend the rest of your life monitoring the Amazon reviews, your mood rising and falling depending on the tone of the feedback.
But if you simply keep creating, you're already on to the next thing before you can lose any sleep over how your work is received. You can't control the reaction anyway!
This is true not only for traditional writers and artists, but in any job. I loved the fast pace of executive recruiting, because if I made a mistake, I had a hundred opportunities to do better work that same day.
That's the upside of the breakneck speed of the modern working world. Just keep going. Don't take the wins or losses too personally.
I love my friend Carla because she's writing a script for us to film a couple funny video shorts. She's an actress, so this is normal fare for her, but I'm not. I love the idea of spending a weekend filming videos, completely unrelated to my job, in a way I would have done as a kid, just for the sake of making something.
There's a time and place for slowing down to receive constructive criticism. But after a certain point, it becomes critical to gain the confidence to recognize for yourself what good work looks like. Strive for that for yourself--not for the critics. You'll never win that way.
Elizabeth Gilbert cites the example of Harper Lee, who never published another book after To Kill a Mockingbird (there was one posthumous book but Harper wasn't around to field any criticism). Elizabeth wishes Harper had come out with five mediocre novels right after that masterpiece, mostly to move on from the weight of the critical praise. And because creating work for mass appeal is never the point.
Elizabeth Gilbert attributes her success to her discipline--she writes every day, whether or not inspiration hits. And when the brilliant ideas do come, she's ready to receive them.
Have you created a block in front of your own creativity because of your fear of how your work will be received? It's worth accepting it won't please everyone. But the act of creating will be pleasing to you, if you can take the pressure off--and that's what matters.
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