exposure

I burn easily. This is why I apply liberal amounts of sunscreen when I plan to be outside for any length of time. And by liberal, I mean about enough to coat a small elephant. 

When it comes down to it, we’re all subject to being burnt, and I’m not talking about Mr. Sun this time. There are many times we may feel exposed to the harsher elements of life. Embarrassment, ridicule, mockery, failure and the like can leave us raw and red, in need of emotional aloe vera (if they sold it, I’d buy it).

One of the great challenges of creativity is being willing to put yourself out there, to let your work see the light of day, exposed to criticism and even rejection. This is especially hard because, most of the time, your first attempts aren’t going to be all that great. You’re likely to get some negative feedback. Even healthy, constructive criticism can be hard to take when you’re not used to it. Now, you could just wait for years, shut inside some ancient temple until you emerge a master, but let’s be real here, at some point you’ll have to show your work to someone; you’ll have to share your creativity if you hope to get advice on how to improve. If you want to learn to fly, you have to spread those wings of yours and give it a go, even if you’ve fallen before.

A specific line caught my eye from a post⁠ by K.M. Weiland about the stages new writers go through:

“Creating is about sticking your fist down deep in your soul, ruthlessly clawing at whatever you can find, and then dragging out to be shared in the shocking light of day.”

Besides just learning how to be comfortable showing our creativity to the world, there comes a point where you’ll have to willingly expose yourself to some very difficult internal searching. No matter what creative expertise you may subscribe to, you will encounter a time of soul-searching, of asking and discovering why you’re doing it in the first place. Without this, without an answer, you will come to a roadblock which, in Gandalf’s words, you shall not pass.

However, when you delve deep, when you ask the hard questions, you find the strength to go on, even when you’ve been burnt. You learn how to let things go, keep your head down and keep on keeping on.

Our creative works are, in a way, part of us. They are like our children, our little hand-made children. Let’s not go too far with this, it could get creepy—maybe it’s too late. Anyhow, letting the fruits of your creativity out into the world can be a fearful thing. Like watching your children grow and leave the house, you must admit: you don’t have control over them and they may never come back. As they stand on their own, they form new bonds with other people, they may return to you, changed. Yes, letting your creative babies go is hard, but it’s the best thing you can do for them. Besides, like a rabbit in springtime, you can always make more.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, do you have a hard time letting your creative children go? Let us know in the comments below.

A.P. Lambert

A.P. Lambert is a creative professional who helps others live with creativity and purpose.