Sparrow on nearly bare branch

Open Letter to Those Who Aren’t “Good Enough.”

I’m taking part in the Zero to Hero challenge, here at WordPress.

Today, the challenge is to write to that one person we hope would read our blog. The one we are trying to reach.

This is my post, to all those who are burning with creativity, but are sure their work isn’t “good enough.”

Hello, my friend.

You say you’ve written things, and drawn things, but you’re afraid to show anyone what you have done. You’re shy, and besides, what if they don’t like your work? Your stuff probably isn’t very good anyway, you say.

I used to feel exactly the same way.

I wrote things, and I drew things, but when I looked at them, all I could see were the flaws. The places where my work fell short of my vision. The bits I’d toiled over, but hadn’t managed to get quite right. The things that looked or sounded silly, once they were out where anyone could see them.

I was afraid to show others my work, unless I really trusted them. Even then I’d make them promise not to tell anyone else about it, for fear of looking like a fool.

Then, one day, someone told me something I’ll never forget.
She explained to me that I was the only person with my vision in all the whole world.

I was the only person who had my thoughts, my experiences, who saw the world through my eyes, with my unique take on what was happening.

I was the only person who had hold of my corner of the Elephant.

The world needed my voice. It needs everyone’s voice. And if I refused to speak, to tell the world what my corner of the Elephant looked like, then I was depriving everyone in the world of that piece of the puzzle. Which wasn’t very nice.

So I took my courage in both my hands, and started to show the world the work that I was doing. I started to share a glimpse of my soul.

I was still scared. (I still am, more often than not.) But I did it.

People can dislike your work, and still think that you are a wonderful person.

Years later I was at a show in Boston, looking at some paintings that were hung on the panel behind mine. I hadn’t planned it, but I couldn’t be seen, and I could hear every word people said about my work.

Two people came into my booth; I have no idea who they were. As they stepped up to my stuff, one said, “Oh! Robin Wood! You know, I like everything about Robin except her work.”

Which stunned me.

It was possible to like me and not like my work!

I am not my work!

You are not your work, either.

People can dislike your work, and still think that you are a wonderful person.

Tastes vary. Some people enjoy jazz, others can’t stand it. Some people love poetry, others have no use for it. Some people like chocolate, others prefer butterscotch.

The thing is, whether or not someone likes something has no bearing on the value of that thing! (And even less on the value of the person creating that thing.)

People didn’t like VanGogh when he was painting. Now he’s viewed as one of the foremost painters of his time, and his influence is far reaching. His work was always brilliant; it just didn’t match late nineteenth century tastes.

If someone, or even lots of someones, don’t like your work, all it means is that your work is not to their taste. It doesn’t mean a single thing about the work itself, or about you.

Perhaps you’ll find your audience, and perhaps not.

The important thing is to remain true to your vision. Let your heart overflow into your writing. Draw the pictures that are hammering on the inside of your head. Play the song that you hear in the silence. Dance the patterns of your life.

Open your hands, and let your voice flow out into the world.

Please, share what you know with the rest of us.

We need your voice.

16 thoughts on “Open Letter to Those Who Aren’t “Good Enough.””

  1. Robin, I too am doing the blogging challenge. While my blog is about gardening this challenge has really helped me with my writing. I have always fancied myself a writer although I never wrote anything that I would share with the public. Many for the same fears you shared here. Today, I emailed a trusted friend with the idea I have been thinking on and slowly revising for a story for 10 years. 10 years! That is how long it has taken to find the courage to overcome my fears and start writing. Right before I read your post I read my friend’s reply to my idea. She liked it. Thought it was so me and gave me some things to consider. Then I read this. Today has been a great day for me when it comes to actually becoming an author. I bookmarked this post, for those times I will doubt myself and my fears return. Thank you.

    1. Hi Tara! I’m so glad it helped! That’s what I really wanted to do.

      I mean, it’s not like these problems have magically gone away for me. But I keep remembering that it’s important to share all our voices. And somehow, it seems that more people feel the way I do than I ever dreamed would! Many people have told me my words and images touch them, in many ways.

      It’s not something I ever expected, but it makes me glad that took the risk. And it helps me to keep taking it.

      You might find it’s the same, for you.

      I’m delighted today has helped you on your path. I can’t wait to read more of your words. 😀

  2. Right on the mark with this post. We all doubt ourselves so much, compare ourselves unfavourably with others and never remember our own worth.
    May your corner of the elephant never falter.

  3. This post is really inspirational and helpful advice, thanks for opening your heart and sharing, I really like the point the we are not our work. I’m not very good at separating myself from my work, but I see its great advice ♥♥♥ ; ^)

    1. Thanks, aishasoasis! Yeah, that’s the hardest thing.

      We put so much of ourselves into what we do, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that it’s not us; it’s just what we do.

  4. This post spoke to me. I too have had the thought of “What if nobody likes it?” I can say if nobody likes it that’s fine I write for me. But do I really feel that way? Maybe not yet but I can get there. Thanks for this encouraging post.

    1. Hi honeymadeit! You are most welcome.

      The thing is, you’re not writing “just for you.” You’re writing for all of us. You are especially writing for people who are in your own “tribe,” who will resonate with your work. They will love it!

      It’s true that it might not be to everyone’s taste, but if it makes them think, then it’s well worth doing.

      There are more than 7 billion people on the planet right now, and you need to remember that your words go out not only in space, but in time. Somewhere, somewhen, your words will be exactly what someone needs to hear.

      Write for that person.

      1. …I guess I *did* see this post when I needed it. And this follow-up comment nailed it. Thank you, Robin. <3

        1. You, like Robin, are phenomenally talented – & yes, I am saying that as someone who admired your work BEFORE I ever met you

  5. Thank you so much for writing this!
    Your tarot deck has been a trusted friend and companion for decades – and now it feels like this post is giving me a friendly but powerful nudge to move into a next stage in my life (rekindling some creative work that I have ignored for a looong time…).

    Wishing all the best, and sending you healing and thriving vibes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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