Why Should Creatives Suffer? (with a Ryan Gosling cameo)

So there’s been a lot of action here at EMU’s Debuts with several long-awaited books being released this fall. It’s an exciting time—a dream come true for all of the authors, to hold their titles in their hands and blanket the cover in kisses.

“Yes, yes!!!” I hear you say. You long to do the same. And I do, too. But I think we all forget that once the book is out, you don’t magically transform into an heiress and devour fudgesicles fed to you by a patient and doting Ryan Gosling.

(Aww, thanks Ryan!)

Every step of the process has its kinks. And you need to find a kink antidote.

For instance, how are you going to handle reviews? Will you read the professional ones like Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly and ignore the public’s Amazon stars, or will you be clicking on GoodReads every two hours to see if someone added your book to their shelf?

And what if you get glowing, starred reviews? Are you going to be afraid you’ll never top it?

Or what if Penny in Preoria, in her fuzzy blue bathrobe and slippers, posts on her blog that she hates your book so much she hopes you’ll never write another thing ever again AS LONG AS YOU LIVE? Will you let Penny get you depressed?

The answer is probably yes.

We writers are sensitive creatures. It’s difficult to separate ourselves from our creative work. We spend years of our lives attached to a project, hoping that it will sing to our readers (an opera, not “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” the Devo version). How can we NOT feel like our entire world has been upended?

That’s why when I have authorly doubts, I turn to Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk on creative genius. She dispels the myth that creativity and suffering should be inherently linked. She suggests that creative success is maybe “gifted” to us rather than being innate, and that everyone has the ability to receive this gift. If we think this way, we can more easily accept or deflect critical reviews because they are not about US. They’re about the gift.


(Ryan always makes me feel better. How ’bout you?)



Filed under Advice, Advice - Helpful or Otherwise

2 responses to “Why Should Creatives Suffer? (with a Ryan Gosling cameo)

  1. Tara, this is such a fun post! I love how you raise all these important authorly issues…but soften them with some Ryan. 🙂 Looking forward to checking out the TED talk…


  2. Love the Gilbert talk. Awesome.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.