I've learned over time that we don't like to be uncomfortable. I am included in this group. If given the choice of standing in a driving rainstorm for an hour or sipping a cup of tea inside, I'll take my Oolong with honey, thanks. But this tendency does not work for us every time.
We know working out and eating healthy is good for us, but how many of us will turn down the piece of cake and get up early to have a morning run?
Unfortunately, we make these same choices when it comes to our cherished beliefs and fragile egos as well. We are seeing this now in the US during a particularly riotous presidential election season. Regardless of what people think or who they support, many would rather cling to their opinions, regardless of what is going on around them. I see this on a much smaller scale, too.
I knew a girl in college who would pass her writing to a small circle of friends, not looking for critique but unbound praise. She wouldn't submit her work to publishers but would complain that she "stunk" and that she was no longer writing. Then her friends would tell her how wonderful she was, and she'd distribute "one more story."
Let me be clear here. If you want to write with the intention of keeping your work private, that is entirely your prerogative. If you want to get your story out to a wider audience, however, you need to accept that not everyone is going to love your work as much as you do, and we can all be better writers, but that only comes with being open to constructive feedback, which isn't always going to be positive. You also have to let go of the notion that your work is you, and any criticism of your writing/art/music/idea is a personal attack.
You have to get out. You have to risk. If you want to move forward, you have to take the chance of falling. You have to be uncomfortable.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Keep it civil, my friends.
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