The practice of Conscious Living is described as a learning process, not a healing process, because the concept of healing requires that we first accept that something is wrong with us. Even if we want feedback, hearing it can make us feel defensive or – worse – bad about ourselves. This usually means we don’t hear the message we needed in the first place.
However, if we approach feedback and discussion from a place of learning, we accept that there is nothing wrong with us; we simply don’t know everything there is to know. From this viewpoint, we become more open to the lesson, the adoption of which makes life and our work easier and more productive.
Pretty easy to see how this applies to our creative practice.
Critique groups and workshops often approach creative feedback with a mindset of telling the writer what’s wrong with their work. The writer might ask for help “fixing” their story. No matter how open we are to criticism of our work, the language we use can create a doom cycle of negative thinking. We write assuming something will be wrong with our story. We share our work assuming our peers will find fault with it. And then we listen to criticism as though we, not our work, are in the docket, as though a weakness in our writing has revealed a flaw within ourselves.
Let’s stop doing that.
Instead, let’s start asking what we need to learn next. When you hit a rough patch in your novel or don’t know what to write next, ask yourself what you need to learn. When you share your work, ask what skills you can learn to make it better. Even if you receive a tough critique, consider what you can learn from it.
As writers, let’s stop assuming there is something wrong with us. That we need to be fixed. Instead, let’s revel in the fun of learning, developing our skills, deepening our insights, and putting the best parts of ourselves out into the world.
What do you need to learn today?