In my last article, I ended with the idea that letting go of a project is hard because we are letting go of our idea of ourselves. This is especially true with creatives.
I identify as a writer. So when in my junior year of college, I got a C on a writing assignment in a humanities class, you can guess I was pretty upset. More than being upset, I was defiant. Obviously my teacher was wrong, and I wrote well, and he should just be quiet.
I stayed after class one day to discuss the assignment with my teacher. He pointed out where I was going wrong, and it wasn’t that my writing was weak, just unfounded. I needed to back up claims with specific details, not write vaguely about an idea. He was right. It shook my world, because it proved just because I write well, doesn’t mean I write everything well.
It paired perfectly to a piece of advice a creative writing teacher once gave me: Don’t marry your words. It’s easy to fall in love with a creative idea or phrasing, but if it doesn’t fit in the story, take it out. If you want, save it for another writing piece. But don’t compromise your whole work for the sake of one great phrase.
Being a writer, an artist, a photographer or whatever else creative grouping you can think of, does not prepare us for every task within that field. I write creative fiction – that’s my happy place. So of course I wouldn’t know the first thing about writing a correct press release to be picked up by a news agency. The skills are similar, but the execution is different.
So before you get upset because someone attacked you in your field of study or work, take a second to evaluate their argument. Ask them to give you specifics. Work together to showcase your strengths while working within the confines of their requirements. I think the most creative thing in the world can be in giving life to an old formula.
[…] Read part 2 of this conversation. […]