Creation and Vulnerability
I am convinced that creation and creative people are about the only hope the human race has for success. Where success is defined as a race of happy people, living in harmony with each other and our planet that so graciously gives us life; solving our collective problems together for the benefit of our future generations.
I also believe that we are all creative at heart - just look at any child - but more often than not our creativity is beaten out of us at a young age by ourselves, our parents, our peers, or by society as a whole.
Through my work and play I am constantly creating, hacking, releasing, sharing, writing, publishing, learning, doing. I am acutely aware of how vulnerable the creation process is.
Every time we create, we inevitably inject a little bit of ourselves into the thing we have created. This is obvious in art, but even in the most simple or mundane creations a little bit of us works its way in there and becomes a part of our creation. This is what makes sharing our creations such a vulnerable, and terrifying process. Receiving criticism, or indifference, to the sharing of our creations hurts, not just because we are generally proud of what we have achieved, but because it’s a direct criticism of ourselves, our souls.
Over time, I have built up a relatively thick skin to this superficial criticism. Enough of a skin to ensure that I keep creating, and don’t just give up, but it still hurts. For me the worst response is “why?”. The implication being: “why would you waste your time to create this?”. As if we would ask a child why they are playing with lego, or a dog why it wastes it’s time chasing sticks? As if creation and play always need a purpose.
These negative reactions hurt, not just the people we aim them at, but society and humanity as a whole. Every unnecessarily negative criticism of a creator, is an arrow directly to the exposed heart of someone at their most vulnerable. And that arrow might be just enough to kill their creative spirit completely. If not it will hurt them for a long time, potentially holding them back from their potential for years into the future. I know it. I still feel the arrows from unnecessary, unjust, criticism I’ve received throughout my life. And I see so many potential artists, developers, creators being hurt, held back, or stopped completely by them. It breaks my heart.
Please spare a thought for our creators. Even the slightest snark, or sarcasm, or indifference, really hurts when someone is sharing their creations with you. Be loving, be excited, be helpful - you might just help someone save the world.