The truth is I’m learning steadily how to handle things. The truth is I’m beginning to understand more and more why the successful people don’t get involved too much in defending or explaining their work. Like GD says, you can be an artist or a lawyer. You can’t do both, well, at the same time.
I feel myself slipping back to crippling perfectionism. Five times I tried to publish things I’d created this week, but something tipped me back over the edge of “not good enough.”
In the beginning, an artist needs the seed of creativity nourished. He or she does not need to be picked apart. This is something I learned from being the one who used to pick things apart. I thought I was doing a service, helping someone improve. Of course I would do it as kindly as I knew how, and I thought that made it okay.
When I switched to creating more and consuming less, I finally got it. The artist doesn’t care about this awkwardly long sentence or that typo or that lack of outlining. The artist cares only for the collaboration with Muse, with creative spirit, with the life force, whatever you want to call it.
The child in the sandbox makes something and says (in his or her own childish words), “Lookie here, what strange mud pie! Isn’t it bizarrely wonderful?” and then moves on to the next mud pie. The love affair with the first mud pie is promptly over, needs no revision, in his or her view, and the creative energy moves on through him or her.
I can’t complain, for it was my own fault. My ego invited criticism, knowing it’s also good for me. The head of the Buddha cut off, again and again.
Return to mud. Thou art but small. Thou shalt continue making mud pies, knowing they aren’t much at all. It’s the quantity that matters. “Go forth and multiply.”
It’s the only way to survive, as an artist.
I learned long ago to love my critics. I won’t blame them, for I invited them, in the very act of being creative and sharing my work. But I don’t need to allow their words to silence me, either.
Return to mud, and muddle on.