How to deal with discouragement
Keep what I like to call a Rainy day file. What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you about your work?1 Austin Kleon calls this a praise file. Open it up when you need encouragement.2 Take compliments well, and don’t be the kind of jerk that stomps all over someone’s gift.3
If you’re feeling concerned your work is not unique enough, keep pushing past your first idea to find your own unique voice.4 And remember: Some writers confuse authenticity … with originality —W. H. Auden, but being unique and authentic doesn’t mean having to create something “original,” whatever that means.
If you’re worried no one cares about your art enough, keep caring about more art.
If it’s critical words you’re dealing with, try one of the following:
- Kill them with kindness. Send a thank you letter back to the critic.5
- Vent to an even-tempered friend.5
- Collect rejection letters like trophies. Maybe make something funny of it.
- Have a friend edit the review, striking out anything of disfavor and correcting grammar.5
- Remember that Critics are behind the times.
- Remember that It’s easier to critique than it is to create.
- Remember why you make art—it’s probably because you love it and it helps you love yourself!
- Some critiques boil down to something being unconventional or weird, but remember: Weird is wonderful.
- “If they don’t care what they say, why should I?”6
- What we think is good is rather just familiar enough.
If you’re worried you’re not having success quick enough, remember The hazards of quick success.