There Doesn’t Have To Be An Audience
As human beings, we crave feedback. When we share anything online, we expect to hear from someone — be it a friend or otherwise. Even if it’s just a single comment or reaction, we want to feel seen. We’ve made ourselves vulnerable by publishing something personal. If no one responds to it, no one cares about what we’ve shared with the world.
The easiest way to avoid creativity is to tell yourself that your creative output is explicitly for those around you. I fall into the same trap as everyone else and often stop myself from writing whenever I think it won’t resonate with anyone. Better yet, I don’t even begin. Problem solved, right?
Every great artist or musician has countless pieces of work that go unreleased, but that’s part of the process. In fact, some of the pieces that we consider “unfinished” serve as the purest reflection of ourselves. Even if they don’t see the light of day, they are still meaningful to us. Developing a habit of creativity is far more important than the outcome of what you choose to make. As Elizabeth Gilbert writes in Big Magic: “Recognizing that people’s reactions don’t belong to you is the only sane way to create.”
Once the work has been shipped, the hard part is over. People may react, people may not. They may love it, they may hate it. But don’t forget the reason that you made it in the first place: for you. Sometimes I draw abstract designs in Procreate and make electronic beats in Logic Pro that will probably never mean much to anyone other than me. I have no aspirations to become a professional illustrator or musician, but this process allows me to reach a flow state and access something within myself. I’m able to transcend certain emotions — whether positive or negative — by releasing them into the wild through art.
The challenge is to remind ourselves that it doesn’t matter who sees the art or remarks on it. Yes, praise from others and positive feedback will always make us feel good, but that doesn’t determine the value of our work.
When you really love what you’ve created, you won’t care what people say or think about it. The work is yours and that’s what makes it untouchable.