Here’s the rudest, cruelest awakening to telling your story in
writing: Most of the time, you will feel like you’re failing. Like what
you’re spewing out onto paper (or screen) is the lamest, most cliché,
least thought-provoking material any moron could dream up. Like the
unenlightened folks in Plato’s cave allegory, you’ll be writing shadows
when what you want to write is all the distinctions and realities of
flesh. You’ll read your words and feel like crap. This will happen a lot.
It’s the most painful thing about creating. Whether your creation is
a memoir, a novel, a dance piece, a fashion design, a piece of music,
or anything in between, it will often be the dimmest representation of
what you can see and feel so clearly in your mind and heart. And—in
case you missed it the first time—you will feel like you’re failing. This is a fact. The question is: What will you do about it?
Are you courageous enough to plow into your work and pull out the
weeds, no matter how long it takes or how difficult it is to find their
roots? Or (at the risk of extending the metaphor too far) will you
close the blinds so that you can’t see how those worthless stalks are
killing the few fine flowers that are in bloom?
If it’s the latter, that’s okay. But you’re in the wrong field.
If you’re the former, however, welcome; you’re among others who,
like you, are passionate about creating and telling stories through art
and who have experienced the debilitating lows of being a
perfectionist. Because that’s really what I’m getting at. For all those
times we’re deeply disappointed in the things we create, it’s because
those creations don’t perfectly live up to the images or ideas in our
minds. And it’s our job to poke them, pull them, kill them, resuscitate
them, love them, coax them, and mold them until they are right,
finally, to us.
This is the responsibility of creating. Sometimes it sucks. Want a
partner who can help it suck less? Contact my assistant Lauray at
firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a phone call to discuss the