Famous For A Day: The Challenge Of Dealing With Being Good At What You Do
My last blog post just so happened to be the most popular post on my site…ever. In fact, it only took 30 minutes for it to be the most viewed post I had ever had, and an hour or so until it was the busiest day in MitchellRichards.com’s history. Ever.
In just under an hour, I went from obscure little niche Christian blogger, to…well…a normal blogger…sort of.
It was really Twitter’s fault. I wrote a piece about the Oklahoma City Thunder, then I pimped it out to some local Thunder beat writers and such, one works for the Oklahoman, and another to the person who blogs at Daily Thunder, as well as a few others but these two were the ones who picked it up and re-tweeted it. It was a really exciting time once I figured out that people were coming to my site. I was a little overwhelmed actually. It was hard to sleep that night because I just wanted to know what was going on. The next morning, I woke up to find my blog mentioned and linked to in other blogs, and other tweets from people in and around OKC. It was great. I was taking it all in, this sort of pseudo-fame that comes with being a niche Christian blogger. But by about noon the day after the post was up, a different sort of feeling came into my soul.
A feeling that, as great as all this attention was, as great as all the traffic to the site was, that tomorrow the page will be blank again.
That tomorrow, that little vertical line that blinks on Microsoft Word will continue to blink. That even though this was my busiest day ever as a writer, that the next day would be back to normal, and that I would still have to write something else. And even worse than knowing that I was going to have to write something else, was knowing that this something else would probably be not as good as my last one, and that it probably wouldn’t be read by as may people.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed those couple of days where my blog was being read and mentioned online, as a writer, I crave those moments where people I don’t know approve and enjoy my writing. No offense to my friends and family, I cherish your kind words and all, but there is nothing like a stranger’s acceptance because they don’t have to accept it. So even while I was basking in the sort of glory that came with those days, I had already moved on in my mind.
It sucks to be a writer because this is a normal, everyday thing. No matter how well you write one day, the page will be blank the next. This is why creative types are essentially slowly going insane. Even at our best, in our greatest moments, we know that the creative process will never end.
I honestly don’t know what I even write from day to day. Sometimes people quote back to me things I don’t even remember saying. And that’s what I’m saying here, you sort of have to write and move on. I see when people comment on here or on another site, and I acknowledge it, but I just move on. I have learned that the best way for me to deal with criticism is to move on from it. Say to yourself, “I said what I wanted to say” and that’s where you leave it. I also learned that if you treat criticism that way, you have to be fair and treat the praise the same way. It has to be that way in both praise and criticism: write and move on…write and move on.
Maybe for you, it’s paint and move on. Garden and move on. Create and move on.
The same can be said for the way we live each day.
Live and move on.
What I am not saying here is that you should shut it down and move on. Quite the opposite actually. Live well, create well, paint well, write well, do whatever it is you do well from one day to the next, but then move on. There is no time to bask in any sort of glory or glow when you create, because when you do the line will continue to blink. Even when you are out of ideas or out of paint, the canvas is blank.
And a blank screen and a blank canvas or whatever it is you do, is the invitation that the Creator has given us to create. Don’t shame Him by soaking in any glory. Create and move on, then create again.
Then move on.