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Hypersensitivity: a creative’s bane

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Lateral Action hits it out of the park again and again. Thought I would share this snippet from their “Dark Side of Creativity – Burnout” article.  And if this section sounds familiar, you should read the parts about Control Freakery and expectations!

Why are creative people so sensitive to criticism of their work? Because our work is not just something we do, it’s an expression of who we are. As Gustave Flaubert put it:

A book is essentially organic, part of ourselves. We tear a length of gut from our bellies and serve it up.

So when the critics get their knives out, it feels like a direct personal attack. When nobody comes to the show it feels as if your innermost soul has been rejected. And again, this is as it should be – up to a point. If you didn’t care enough to put your heart and soul into your work, there would be no reason for anyone else to care about it. But if you really want to improve, you have to learn to let go of the work, to stand back and appraise it coldly, to see whether it measures up to the standards you aspire to. And you have to be able to listen to others’ feedback and see whether you can learn from it. Otherwise you set yourself up for a world of pain each time you present your work to an audience.”

(image: The Green Muse by Albert Maignan, 1895)

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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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