how to deal with success & failure in the creative process

walking in this worldIn her book Walking in this World, Julia Cameron talks about “before, during, and after friends,” meaning the kind of people who are with you no matter what stage of the creative process you happen to be in. There are moments when we feel on top of the world, and moments when we feel like a complete failure. It is all part of the process. What’s most important is that we have the people in our lives we can call up and share with, people who will neither diminish our successes, nor gloss over and make light of our desperate moments.


I happen to have a hit a high moment this week, hearing the news that I made it one more step forward in a talent show competition and will have the opportunity to dance live on stage in a few weeks. (Ah!!) Just last week I was downward spiraling into thinking I should just quit everything I’m doing because no one cares and it’s all too ridiculous.


I also spoke to multiple friends and clients this week who were feeling like they wanted to crawl under a rock. I listened and empathized and reminded them of their brilliance.


I heard from others who attempted to negate their own successes - “Well, I only applied to one residency… that should just be normal stuff, no need to celebrate.” I made them get up and do a happy dance.


And now to turn the spotlight on you, creative one.


Where are you on the spectrum of creative success and failure this week?


Think about the reactions you have to your own success/failure, and to the success/failure of others in your life.


Do you:

  • marinate for too long in self-pity when you feel like a failure?

  • get a big head when you’re successful?

  • get jealous and down on yourself when you hear of others’ success?

  • get caught up in other people’s drama and negative energy?


If you said yes to any of those questions, the only thing I’ll say is:


Call up a friend to vent, then stop it and get to work.


Dwelling in success or failure can be a great method of avoidance for getting down to business with the creative work you long to do.


Don’t stop practicing just because you won an award, and don’t quit trying just because you didn’t win anything.


Find a way to be fulfilled by just doing it.


Know what I mean?


I encourage you to write into the comment box below and tell me where you’re at on this spectrum and how you react to success and failure. A little writing goes a long way


cheering you on through the humps and the dumps,


p.s. I’ve witnessed the value of having trusted support both in my own creative and professional life, as well as with the clients I serve in the Thriving Artist’s Program. Are you getting the support you need? If you have a hunch that I might be a good match for you, join me for a new program that is short, sweet, and super affordable. Learn more and sign up here!