The internet is amazing. It’s how I’m here talking to you today. It has opened up the world to information in a way that barely seems possible, it has allowed us to remain connected with our loved ones and it has given us the opportunity to form friendships across oceans. And yet, no one can deny that there are downsides. Not least for creatives.
Nowadays, it can be nigh on impossible to switch off from the constant noise. And, as great as it is to have so much knowledge at your fingertips, the never-ending advice can be overwhelming. And then, of course, not to sound out the broken record, there is the din coming from the cancel culture mob. Even as private citizens, we can feel like we’re always under the microscope- and that scrutiny only seems to intensify if we dare to do something different. It’s hard pill to swallow, especially when, let’s face it: that’s what being creative is all about.
Not that I think people should be free from criticism (obviously). Nor do I want to offer banal advice to just get offline (especially when so many people’s incomes depend on being online in some capacity). But I do want to offer a glimmer of positivity.
Because, in order to achieve anything, we have to be prepared to fail. As writers, we have to remember: we can’t write to suit other people, we can only write the best version of our own story. There’s no concept of perfection, no possibility of pleasing everyone and no way of coming out of the process unscathed (even if we just take a beating from our inner critic). We will most certainly fall down and get a few scraped knees- we just have to learn to pick ourselves up again.
Creativity has always been about being brave. I imagine every creative individual feels like they’ve got Daedalus’ wings strapped to their backs, not sure if they’ll make it without flying too close to the sun. Not sure if they’ll tumble down into the glinting sea. It’s a dangerous business- yet if we don’t take that leap, we’ll be imprisoned forever.
And, above all, we’ve got to focus on our own flying, not getting distracted by what others are doing. It doesn’t matter if they’re freewheeling and showing off; it doesn’t make a difference if you think they’re flight plan is way off. Ultimately, we’ve got to make sure our own life jacket’s on before we assist others 😉 Then, and only then, can we be free to make our own mistakes.