I Am Not My Best Work.
But I Never Was.
I felt myself shaking as my finger hit the “publish” button.
I was excited because I’d just written a great piece and I couldn’t wait for the rest of the world to see it.
I thought, “What if this is the post that finally gets me the attention I deserve? What if this is the one?”
I couldn’t help but think about everything that would happen from this post and all the people it would connect me with. So I eagerly refreshed the page, waiting for all of the shares and comments to roll in.
But not a single one did.
Something Funny Happened When I Shared My Work With the World
I spent the next couple weeks beating myself up and wondering why nobody liked my work. Hell, I almost convinced myself to hang up my writing hat for good.
The thing is, I didn’t realize that my work had nothing to do with me. And that’s why it ultimately failed.
I wasn’t aware that putting your writing out there for others to see is a struggle. Not because you face the fact nobody might read it, but because putting your work out there becomes a trial by fire.
At one point, I even thought that the little feedback I was getting — even if some of it was inherently negative — was all part of the process.
I thought that all good writers started in obscurity like me. And I would just have to keep plugging away if I wanted anyone else to see my work.
Moving past my hesitations and fears started with accepting that not everyone will read my work.
But I didn’t realize another simple fact until much later.
I Am the Only One Who Cares About My Success
First, I had to accept that by putting my art out there for others to see, my work would necessarily be under the fire of critics — even if no one read it — because let’s face it, everyone is one. Including myself (that’s just how it is).
The truth is, being judged always comes with the territory of being great at anything you wish to do in life.
So where do you go from here?
It Gets Worse.
On the opposite end, strangely enough, once you’ve created something awesome everyone will start holding you accountable to that golden standard from here on out.
And when you slip, it’s like breaking your reader’s trust in you. And from there, there’s no telling what chaos will happen.
Sometimes I’m crippled by the best work I’ve done. It holds me back and stops me from moving forward. I wonder if I can ever do better (probably not).
But at other times, this same fear only fuels me to create something better than I’ve ever written before.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
I’m always thinking about the impact I have on others around me and on you as you’re reading this piece of my work. I wonder, “could I have done better? Or is what I’m doing now good enough?”
We Are Not Our “Best” Work
Here’s the thing: you’re not the best work you’ve done. But you’re not the worst work you’ve done, either.
I’ve been depressed by the worst things I’ve made. But I’ve also been crushed by the better things I’ve written because nobody read them.
We need to stop looking at ourselves in such harsh lenses. To stop defining our work in terms of “best” and “worse.”
In fact, you should be preparing for the bumps in the road to come and have a solution ready to counter them instead of simply reacting to them one by one.
Because that’s what will make you great — much more than your best work ever will.
You’re a creator who makes things that some people like and some don’t. That’s who you are and that’s okay. Because it can’t all be gravy on the road to mastery.
You were put on this Earth to create. That’s a given.
But not everything you make will be great. Most of it won’t be good. A lot of it will only be ‘okay’. A lot of it, still, will go straight into the recycle bin.
That’s okay, too.
Because it’s all part of the path to a better you.
Set Aside Your Expectations and Just Create
You can’t expect everyone to love your product (or even like it). Some will hate your work. Some will even recommend you to others as someone not to follow.
But don’t freak out. This is all part of the plan.
Because without the missteps, the blunders, and the failures, you’ll never open yourself up to creating anything great. You’ll also never open yourself up to criticism, which is part of why being comfortable feels so good.
Time is short and our lives are not infinite. So why not spend it pursuing something you love and want to become better at, no matter what that thing is?
What we choose to do with this moment is crucial. If we choose to move, to be proactive and to become a master craftsman then we win. And that victory will help us be more decisive in the moments to come.
Because if we can swiftly decide to improve our lives, rather than delay long-term progress for short-term gratification in the here and now, then we become the masters of our lives.
And as a result, we regain the power to act on the other moments that will follow and determine the rest of our lives to come, rather than allowing them to slip us by.
Life Is a Struggle — So Embrace It.
Instinctively, we know it’s not easy to be an artist.
Yet even though we’re truly aware of all the dangers of criticism, we still have a hard time dealing with it when it comes.
But when we go beyond the feedback we receive and embrace the joys of the creative process, we can begin to move past the doubt and the fear we face as artists on a daily basis.
And when we really revel in our why, that’s when we can write something worth reading.
Especially if it’s our best work yet.
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Blake is a writer and dreamer based in Vancouver, Canada. He helps writers step into their potential and create their dream lives. If you’re looking for an extra push in your writing, you can download a free copy of his ebook to conquer the blank page today. Also, you’ll be notified of any upcoming courses or books he’s working on as he releases them.