Thomas Oppong has some advice for all you go-getters out there who are afraid to dive into that pool otherwise known as creativity. In his piece entitled “Here’s Why You Might Be Afraid to Live a More Creative Life,” Mr. Oppong sums up, quite neatly, what deters many of us from pursuing that creative element he believes is inherent within us all. In five short and sweet bullet points he claims this has to do with:
1. You’re afraid you have no talent.
2. You’re afraid your best work is behind you.
3. You’re afraid of being rejected or criticized.
4. You’re afraid your ideas are not good enough.
5. You’re afraid someone else has done it better.
Apparently “afraid” is le mot de jour here, and everyone who’s pursued a career in any field of creativity – whether painter, PR spin doctor, magician, hair stylist, rocket scientist – knows how hard and bumpy the ride is early on in your career.
On a personal note, I equate flexing that creative muscle and exhibiting your final product in public to taking off your clothes and standing buck naked at a major intersection during rush hour; no doubt it’s going to be hard/embarrassing at first.
However, as someone who’s been in Teddy Roosevelt’s The Man in the Arena for a decade and a half, I can assure you that it does (I promise) get easier over time. Perhaps “easier” is not the right word, but at the very least it becomes less painful.
In the spirit of October baseball fever, an analogy that comes to mind is something Goose Gossage said back in the ’70s when he came in to relief pitch in a huge post-season game and was crappin’ his pantaloons he was so scared. Knees-a-shakin’, he turfed his first couple of pitches before telling himself in a moment of quiet reflection (quiet, of course, being measured against 50,000 people screaming all around you), What’s the worst that can happen? If I drop the ball on this one, I’ll be back home tomorrow at my beautiful house in Colorado.
That’s kind of the same way I look at my own writing all these years on. The worst that can happen is that someone doesn’t like it, but as long as you pour your heart and soul into it, there’s nothing to be scared or ashamed of when showing off your creativity to others. Best case scenario? The world falls in love with what you’ve produced, you make bank on it, become a superstar in your field, and have an A-List Hollywood actor play you in the film version of your life.
Not so bad, me thinks.