why you should create in public
uncomfy, but important
Someone asked me today about writing in public and how I feel about it. My default answer is that most of the time I want to crawl into a dark hole and never publish anything ever. I want to hoard everything and stockpile it in this soft and deep part of my heart, never let it out. But more recently I’ve been reflecting on how everything worthwhile I’ve ever done has been driven by two opposing mechanisms: exposure (scary), but also resonance (beautiful). How my life has developed through butterfly effects, compounding from singular instances of said exposures. How anything worth doing from here on out is necessarily going to be beyond my realm of safety.
I think sharing anything real and meaningful about yourself with the world is inherently terrifying. Especially if you tie your identity or your competence to the thing in question, whether it’s your startup, writing, music, art, ideas etc etc. There’s always this tiny, panicky voice in your brain that believes you’re actually delusional. What if you fail in public? What if people are apathetic toward your product? What if, after all the effort, what you’re sharing is simply kind of shit? I don’t have very satisfying answers because these are very real fears I have all the time. What I can say is that this specific variety of discomfort is actually a very strong positive signal. Discomfort is a productive emotion. Discomfort is proof that you care, proof you can love something so much you want it to be better than it is. The most successful people I know are the ones who don’t take discomfort as a deterrent. Instead, they approach it with a childlike curiosity, take it as a signal of interest.
I see it this way: hiding your creative work has infinite opportunity cost – it prevents you from getting any feedback (good or bad) that helps you improve; it silences the variety of luminous, expansive, electrified ideas that seek articulation. It severs any possible connection to other people who could inform and add color to those ideas. On the other hand, sharing your work has infinite upside – as soon as you gather up the courage to allow yourself be seen, you activate this latent serendipity tucked into every crevice of the world. In the very best cases, you can provide people with the language or framework or experience by which they can explain something fundamental about themselves. You can create access to a hidden dimension – something good and true. You realize that our human experiences can be both broadly universal and intimately specific at the very same time. Resonance. That feeling is as close to love as it gets.
The long game isn’t waiting for readiness because that timeline doesn’t exist. You could rewrite this endlessly and never feel fully prepared to hit ‘send’. You could search for a perfect version of yourself forever and never find it. Being ‘ready’ is a myth. You have to do the thing anyways. Playing the long game is realizing discomfort is a by-product of everything truly powerful, generative, and freeing.
So when the feeling comes, push against it, walk with conviction straight into the heart of it. The interim between feeling ready and doing it despite the discomfort is where the entire world begins.
Quote(s) of the week
“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” – Mary Oliver
“I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think you would have the courage to write it? What is true for writing and for a love relationship is true also for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don’t know what will be the end.” – Foucalt
Pictures of the Week
Feeling very grounded this week. Most highlights unpictured, but met really incredible, inspiring, people through a park + book-filled day (thank you again, M!), and reconnected with others. Deepening & strengthening friendships is a very magical feeling. Always counting my blessings that I somehow managed to find pure-souled and well-intentioned people.
PS: thank you for so many new friends here, I appreciate you!