I’ve got the generic blues blues
I spent most of the weekend at an outdoor blues fest and it was… okay. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, it was just… okay. And that’s not okay. It’s artistic and creative death.
The “beware of” buzz at the writing conferences I’ve been to lately is “beware of allowing too much critiquing to muffle your voice.” I didn’t really understand what that meant until I went to the blues fest. The musicians were going through the motions, doing basic crowd-pleasers. Nothing new, nothing exciting, nothing memorable. People in the crowd were applauding, but for what?
The whole experience made me really uncomfortable and I think I understand why. My greatest fear is that people tell me my writing is good (they’re applauding) when it’s not that good. It’s okay. Okay is NOT okay. Okay is worse than bad. With bad you’re forced to improve, but okay leaves you in a place where you can get by and coast.
What’s the answer? Set your own bar and accept the fact that you’ll get booed.
Here’s a great post by Chase Jarvis: Stop Trying to Get Everyone to Like Your Work. I agree 100% with what he says. Some people are going to hate what I write. And that’s good. They should. I’m going to push some buttons. Say some things that make people uncomfortable. I’m going to raise some questions without providing easy answers. Some people hate that. But other people love it. Those people will be my people and they won’t clap unless I clear my self-imposed high bar. That’s where I want to be.