Everyone creates for different reasons; some of us might do it to be seen, read, heard, or felt. And while this deep connection can be incredibly rewarding and meaningful, the pressure of increasing expectations, social engagement, and sales that often represent it can crush the joy out of creativity.
“The most important thing I can tell you is to relish writing in obscurity,” author Michelle Kuo said to me in an interview. “I feel that I was the happiest as a writer when I was in hiding, when I was invisible, when I was secretly writing, stealing away portions of time at work, or writing on scraps of paper, or forming sentences in my head on the commute. That was a time before I had published really anything and before I even thought my writing would become a book, I was just trying to organize or to create order in my emotional life.”
Kuo recalls focusing, instead, on simpler metrics: “Am I writing?” “Am I showing up?” “Am I discovering something new about these experiences or about this world?” “Am I having new encounters alone?” These types of qualitative metrics, more grounded in the process than the outcome, will enable you to get back to what really matters: your creative work. Remember to enjoy the plateau.