I had a leader once corner me and ask, “Why do you have to express so much? You have a blog, you talk to lots people outside our church, you…” I was in that moment without words, for once. It seemed to this leader out of order to be expressing so much and so often. After all, there are bound to be ripple effects by posting a story on your blog, recording a song, or designing a new way to do something. The pushback has come both by bullies but also by well-intentioned critics. And, I figured I was not the only one who has ever heard such feedback.
Creatives, we are designed to express. Period. The DNA given to us compels us to create, and when we don’t live like that we may literally have to be medicated. Our best path to health is in the process of creation, where we ask “why not?” and live out possibilities–taking dreams and making them as concrete as a table. Where status quo is king, we are the village idiot as scorn often pierces the soft spots.
In all of that pushback, there are some ways to earn some reprieve. Or, there are perhaps tactics that keep us being who we are, while respecting how different we are seen at times. Not everyone understands why a person would even want to be a writer, for instance. Why put yourself out there and become a target? We do it because it is who we are. That being said, we can always be better people, no matter who we are.
Here are three things to help us creatives keep being who we are:
Be a whack-a-mole instead of a sitting duck: At the fairgrounds, the whack a mole game means you have a group of little moles poking the heads up. It takes quite a bit of effort to hit them all. The lesson here is that in community and in a tribe you are likely to be only one mole out of many. That is far better than a lone sitting duck. So, who are you partnering with? What tribe have you aligned yourself with?
Even Clark Kent works for an editor: Superman in cognito still had to have his story edited. The lesson here is to find an editor and process to give you an idea of how what you express is received. Tone, timing, and context all matter. Picking a person or opening yourself to a process like this will at least let you know ahead of time if you are creating a tsunami or ripple. Who is your editor, mentor, or friendly critic?
Be willing to fail, and respawn often: In the video gaming world, when you start out you will have to start over often. And, when you get more experienced and further along, the failure hurts even that much more because so much progress is lost. But, “respawn” and begin again, accepting this as the way it is. Failure will teach you, so master it. Are you willing to fail and get good at it?
Are there any other tactics you have found as an expressive/creatives? Please share.