Yesterday our internet went down and was out for the whole day... I sat and sewed and listened to Christmas music on the radio, and thought... about the internet and my place on it. I do a lot of pondering while I sew.
I struggle sometimes with the idea of Perfection. I think creative people especially have this problem. Creating, at the core, should be something we do for ourselves, some kind of expression of your inner self, yadda yadda yadda... but really, a lot of 'creating' is about the reaction you get from others. I don't think many designers would keep designing if they kept getting negative reviews, or writers would keep writing if everyone told them their work was shit... Part of what drives the creative process is seeing people's (hopefully positive) reaction to it. I think that statement is fair and true. I think creative people love to create, and also love to please people. This is both a great driving force and a potentially dangerous thing.
Pleasing people is a funny thing. It can be so easy... opening a door for a stranger, a smile, a thoughtful gift, a beautiful image. At times, it can be exceptionally & unexpectedly hard. And it can be devastating when you try, but fail to please.
I've always been a bit of an 'individual,' never really following along with the crowd, but that hasn't stopped me from being a people pleaser. We all like to make people happy. I am finding that this is something I struggle with, in my professional life. Saying 'Yes' to everyone and feeling horrible when I disappoint. That, and just the simple fear of screwing up.
I've worked a lot in retail, and I know that customers can sometimes be hard to please (I've even been one of those customers). I've been extremely fortunate with Ohhh Lulu to have wonderful customers who are patient, kind, understanding... I kind of feel like I've hit the client-lottery. But, that doesn't stop me from losing a few winks at night, worrying about a horrible review or a customer who absolutely hates what you've done...
The internet can be the perfect place for a people pleaser. Its pretty easy now a days to follow a cookie cutter template and be a Pinterest Star, Super Blogger, Tumbler Aficionado... It's nice to be liked and followed, retweeted, have people say nice things about you. But, when you put yourself, and your work on a public forum, you are also completely open to criticism, which we've all heard the stories, can sometimes be really unkind.
To be honest, it's probably just a matter of time, or maybe it's already out there and I just don't know about it because I don't look. It is hard, as someone who creates, to separate what you do from people's reaction to it. They are so intrinsically connected, but at the same time, unimportant. Public reaction is so 'in your face' on the internet.
I have found, through my short experience as one who creates, that the pieces I create to please myself, are the ones that get the best reaction. The pieces I try my hardest on, are the ones that flop. I guess I'm flip-flopping on my opening statement... pleasing people is a driving force, but should not be the inspiration.
One of the driving factors of leaving my job was to pursue something that I enjoy. Now that I am doing it, I can see that there are lots of ways one could steer a business, especially a creative one, to make it a living nightmare... We will always have critics, and I can completely see how a handful of critics could really ruin that creative force... I can see how, aside from the workload, it could be very stressful. I'm taking the approach that it's important to embrace the positive, not focus on the negative, and learn from my mistakes... And I expect to make many!
Something I try to do in my everyday life, and on my blog, is share my mistakes and how I feel about them. I don't do it to be down on myself... I just feel that the internet is so full of perfect people... perfect, unrealistic, people, that it is important to share that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things don't go perfectly. I make mistakes all the time. Sometimes they are chaotic, unforeseeable mistakes, sometimes as a result of carelessness. I think we'd all feel a lot better about ourselves if we shared these things more often. When I was training my replacement at my job, it really felt great when I asked her how she was doing and how she felt she was learning and she said, "You know, I'm really glad you've shared some things you've found difficult and made mistakes with, because it's made me less afraid to make mistakes in the future..." That was a nice foot to leave off on.
To sum up my little Saturday Morning blog post, here are some photos of my pets taken with my new DSLR camera!! I love it so much, I don't know how I lived without it!