On sharing your work and the shifting surface-self

Image: Zach Inglis

Check this scenario and tell me if you’ve been here…

You want to share a story/opinion of yours. Online, perhaps. Or in a book, etc.

So you start writing. Things are going great. You’re on fire about it. This thing you’re writing is it. You see visions of your work being up there with the likes of Martin Luther and Emily Dickinson. As you deem it, you’re writing your magnum opus.

It keeps you up at night. While you’re hanging out with friends and family, you’re often caught staring reflectively into the distance as you ponder what lines are to come. This thing consumes you.

You get it in really good shape. You consider sharing it. But you hold off. You really want to polish it into the fine gem that it is.

Another month goes by — maybe more. You add some here and there. Chip some pieces away. Tinker with it.

And then, it happens…

One day, you wake up. You have your coffee. Do your thing. Head over to the work. Fire up the laptop. And it’s then and there that you realize…

Holy shit. The thrill is gone.

As you read it, it’s like reading someone else’s work.

This can’t be happening. You walk away from it. Maybe you’re burned out. So a couple days goes by — no, you’ve never spent this long away from it before, but this time, you’re fine without it. You go back, ready to dig in. And it happens again...

Nothing. Flatline. Your baby is dead. What… Happened?

I’ll tell you what happened. You changed. Or, the entity that you identified with so heavily during the creation process — yet another version of your surface-self — has faded into someone else.

We do this all the time. Our surface-self is ever-changing. Being a daily blogger, it’s extremely apparent in my work. I change constantly.

Like I said, the thing that always changes is the surface-self. Our personas.

We play the star of many different main characters throughout our life. This is okay. It’s the nature of the game. But who we really are is the background that sits behind and witnesses our surface-selves act out these different dramas. When you identify with that changeless role, your creativity will flourish. You’ll be sitting in the director’s chair instead of being blinded by the spotlight.

You’re playing with these personas now. You’re holding the strings. You can have fun with it now. This is a great place to be, creatively.

Going back to the whole thrill-is-gone thing, it’s easy — especially if you aren’t aware of what’s going on — to become frustrated with this. You can easily reach a point where you just want to give up. You can start to feel like your story holds no solid ground.

This is okay. It’s the way it is. Share it anyways. If you feel called to share your story/truth/idea, just do it. But do it quickly. Because you will change. You will evolve. If you wait, it will die. And your current-time truth will never see the light of day. What a shame that would be.

Be okay with being a living contradiction. Find peace in your shapeshifting nature. This is what makes life interesting. Just know that what matters is that you shared your truth. Fully. Unabashedly. Well-aware and unafraid of the shifting nature of the surface-self.

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