When a concept repeatedly crosses your radar, it may be the Universe trying to tell you something. (And for a wonderful look into that concept, watch Mr. Bill Nye.)
Case in point – this came up four times in the last couple of weeks: when you share your work with others, and ask questions about that work, it can often look as if you are bragging or fishing for compliments. You and I know that isn’t true. Empty praise doesn’t help anyone. We’re not looking for fluff, we’re looking for data. Towards that end, we ask all kinds of seeking questions that go beyond “Do you like it?”
“Why do you like it?”
“What part do you like the best?”
“What spoke to you?”
“What doesn’t work?”
“Did I nail this emotion/feel/setting?”
All of these questions, and more, help us refine our work. The feedback we get allows us to take a project from good to amazing. Draft after draft, revision by revision, we draw closer to perfection. For someone who just wants to say, “Yeah, that’s a great picture. Well done,” these endless queries can get annoying and look desperate, but it’s an important part of the process.
Find your people – the ones who will read your stories or examine your painting or listen to your music over and over and if necessary over and over more. Find them and share with them so they can share with you.
And when you finally set your work aside as complete, take your people to dinner. You’ll need them well fed for the next project.