A few hours later, and my frenemy comes-a-mocking:
"That last piece you wrote... yeah, it was aiight. People dug it. But let's see if you can top that, because we both know it was probably a fluke".
"And we all know you're only as good as your last piece".
Just when you think you've got this creator life sussed eh?
But, the thing is you are only as good as your last... [fill in the blank]
I know. That's the last thing we want to hear when we're struggling to replicate the success of our last creation. It's pressure we don't want to think about.
But, that pressure is the fuel that gets us striving towards our best work.
There are times we release something that isn't as great as we'd like it to be. And it dies the death of a thousand slow deaths.
We start to replay the voice of the frenemy, and in that moment we've got two choices:
(1) believe her lies, or
(2) take a deep breath and try again.
Mourn, learn and then bury the flops
Here's what I've learned to do with those moments of self doubt.
I mourn the loss of 'something that could have been great'.
I learn from it - "what do I need to do differently next time?"
And then I bury it. That is to say, I bury my dissatisfaction with it, stop beating myself up, and crack on with the next.
Because: there's always a better, bigger, bad-assier version of your creation waiting to be birthed.
If your last newsletter received nothing but crickets and a bunch of unsubscribes. Try to understand why it wasn't as great as your last. Get feedback. Learn from it. Then bury it beneath the awesomeness of your next newsletter.
If your last book or article didn't get anywhere near the love you hoped it would. Get feedback. Learn from it. Bury it beneath the awesomeness of your next publication.
If your last design or piece of artwork is collecting dust in your online store... well, you know the drill.
You're only as good as your last...
Thanks for the reminder, frenemy.
Now excuse me while I gather myself to create my next thing.
And if that ends up not being as good as the last, I'll try again tomorrow.
And the day after that, and the day after that.