Being a creative person is hard. The reason being that you will always hate your earlier work because of your constant need for evolution. You want to be better, better than, best. Someone is always going to be better than you. And to be honest, this is a good thing. This is what makes creative people work hard. Being an artist or a writer or any kind of creator really, is a deeply humbling experience. It’s vulnerability about the things that hurt you the most to a group of strangers through mediums like paint, and songs, and music, and paper, and ink.
And then the criticism comes. Don’t get me wrong. I love criticism as long as it is constructive. If you take the time out of your life to tell me about what you like or dislike about my writing to aid me to get better, I am extremely grateful to you and it will reflect in my comments to you. Most of the time, I am already aware and working on the areas of my writing where I need help so a second person telling me the same usually means I am working on the right aspects of my work.
But then, there is destructive criticism. The kind which disguises itself as criticism but really is set up to humiliate you for your work. The kind where people meme artwork and writing for RTs and likes because it’s trendy to hate it. The kind where people who don’t have a single creative bone in their bodies go out of their ways to bring down a creative person’s work, whilst claiming they can do better or that their work is superior.
And it is at exactly this point you get the litmus test of who is a true creative and who isn’t.
You see, truly creative people do not take to public mediums to belittle the work of other artists. They channel that energy into creating art. If you do not like something, you move past it. This is out of mutual respect and creative energy of another artist.
The kind of creative that sits there on twitter/facebook/tumblr going “This sucks, my dog could have done this/my work is so much superior” is not the sort of person who is looking to evolve. There is a reason why these people will never progress or get better. If you cannot respect another artist’s space despite not liking their work, then you aren’t really creating for the right reasons.
But the kind of creative that can nod to another artist’s success whose work they do not like despite not being successful yet themselves, that humbly goes back to creating, that is the kind of person that will eventually become a success. Maybe not a massive commercial success, but in the way that they will always be respected and more importantly always respect themselves.
You see, eventually when you work in the creative world, you recognize, your competition becomes your desperate need to be better than you were before. I think Bukowski said this best. “Find what you love and let it kill you.”