On Sharing, Art, and Personal Battles 

 It’s pitch black outside. I can see next to nothing. Just the lights from a few of my neighbors houses and the glow of the temple spire in the distance.  Mornings are so relaxed. Wake up before the hustle and bustle of kids running around, the only noises are the sounds of the house. The fridge running, the furnace turning on every-so-often, and the hum of the kitchen lights above my head.  

I keep one of the kitchen lights off in the morning so that it stays dim and relaxed in the morning. Too much light just makes it feel like the day is starting too early, that it’s time to get to work or do some chores. I like the quiet, soft, and dark feel of the morning time. I feel like I’m the only one awake and that my thoughts can just be my own. It’s almost as if being around other people makes it so my thoughts aren’t necessarily just for me, that being around someone makes my private life somehow public.  

I need time alone. It’s part of who I am, and I’m becoming more like that, introverted. I just need time to think things through, to get creative, to not have anyone around to ask what I’m doing or have to explain my actions to anyone. I need time to write without anyone around to ask what I’m writing about or why. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing about, all that matters is that I’m writing.  

Somehow even the presence of other people in the room who know me makes me self-conscious about my writing, as if somehow them being in the room gives them the ability to perceive what I’m working on, or that they’ll ask me what I’m working on and I’ll feel obligated to tell them. I like to keep my creative pursuits to myself until I feel ready to share them. It’s like crafting something special that just won’t make any sense until it’s complete. It’s my special project that I don’t want anyone to criticize until I have completed it and I know that it has passed my own scrutiny. I am harsh enough on my own work to not need anyone else’s criticism until I feel ready to take the criticism.  

I suppose part of me wants to make sure that the criticism that I get isn’t just poking holes in things that I knew already, things I was planning on fixing anyway. That’s the problem with handing out unfinished work is that people notice the things that I already knew about and was in the process of fixing instead of noticing the smaller things that I hadn’t noticed yet. They’ll notice the plot holes that I was still filling, or the section that felt a little rushed or too drawn out, when I was going to edit it and just hadn’t had time. I don’t believe an artist should need help to make his art good, but I think that almost all creatives need help to make his works great.  

I can make good stuff, I write well enough on my own to be able to write good stuff, but I know that my skills aren’t sufficient to make something spectacular on my own. I need help with a lot of different things to be able to make something turn from good to great, and that’s ok, I can accept that. I would be foolish not to accept the fact that I need help to improve my writing.  

But I guess what I’m realizing about myself is that I struggle to share my art with others. It feels like I’m giving away part of myself, and that’s a scary prospect, no matter how good you are at your craft. 

It’s something I’m working on. Hopefully it’s not always such an embarrassing prospect, to share less than perfect art in the hopes that some feedback will help me improve.

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