Life’s a Rough Draft: Be Brave

by bxrtley

Had a recent conversation about bravery. A dear friend of mine shared a literary piece with her creative art Meetup group. And they ripped it to shreds. At least that’s how it felt. Although liberally given, none of the affirmative feedback mattered. It just felt like a slaughter session.

I shared with her the bravery it took to not only create something, but to share it with others. It placed her levels ahead of artists who wanted to perfect their craft in the closet and then show the world one day what they’ve been up to. She wasn’t hearing it.

Well, it wasn’t so much the constructive criticism she received as much as it was her being indirectly labeled a “rookie” at her craft. See, up until this point she was the one in the group with the great suggestions, insight and just darn good creative advice. The Meetup Sage. But now that the shoe was on the other foot, it felt as if her credible badge was stripped.

I begged to differ. I believe two things happened: The bravery bit and also her earning the stripes of truly becoming a part of the group. If anything, this made her more credible in the eyes of her peers. Ok so one person might’ve politely inquired if she ever thought of taking a class to perfect her craft. And she was offended. But in all honesty, she is a rookie! A really good one. Amazingly talented. But a rookie, nonetheless. And I suppose no one really wants to be reminded of the long journey of success.

As a matter of fact, the piece only took her 48 hours to create. But she didn’t want to be seen as a rookie for something she just intuitively threw together. She wanted the critical opinions for what she’d been working on for much longer. So, you’re probably thinking, “Then what’s all the fuss about? She didn’t even pour blood, sweat and tears into it!” Well, she might’ve, but I think it’s deeper than just energy and effort.

Presenting a more seasoned piece would give her the ability to defend her work. This 48-hour rookie awesomeness couldn’t be defended. So she was, in a sense, helplessly deemed a whippersnapper. And the fact that both the 2-day and 2-week work would’ve come to same conclusion—she being a beginner—was somewhat disheartening.

It’s an ego thing. But we all have egos. What’s important is that she created something, “shipped it” gained feedback and is now weighing and implementing those suggestions for a stronger revision. That takes balls. Cajones. Testicular fortitude. But in this case: It took Eggs. Ovarial resilience. You get the point.

I was inspired. It was a living reminder to keep creating and keep sharing. People may not always agree with your work, but you will be respected. You will build (and earn) credibility. And it will push your limits of creativity for the next round.

She showed me that life is like a literary draft. And we all know a creative piece is never finished. Only abandoned. So be brave. Appropriately share. Graciously receive (feedback). Ambitiously iterate (your work). And courageously share again.