Happiness rushes through my veins while I write,
And as I complete those lines, I look at them and smile.
But when I put it for thou to read,
The same words make my nerves squeal…
A few weeks ago I was in a phase where I felt words were waiting to burst out of me. Maybe it was good weather. A consequence of this phase was the increased frequency of the couplets (good, bad or whatever) that I was posting on this blog. Some of these couplets did generate a decent amount of likes. By decent I mean 7-8. The fact that someone read it and bothered to click on the like button kept me satisfied. But these likes created expectations in me for equal, if not greater likes with the next couplet. This led to an uncanny anxiety about the popularity of the next entry I posted. My mind occupied with perceptions and likability of my poems thought less about poetry and more about likes.
Will people read them? If they read them will they like it? Will they comment on it? Will the comments be positive? What should I do to be more likable?
Phew! Poetry was lost. I virtually stopped writing. My own poetry felt lame to me and this was bad.
Although I appreciate this system of appreciation facilitated by likes, it did create a dangerous reciprocal effect of anxiety on me. I’ve tried to come out with a solution i.e. to keep doing my job without any expectation. If words burst out of me, I’ll let them flow, while keeping my expectations low. I will definitely not indulge in the culture of reciprocating “Likes”.
Poetry or creation of art is not a transaction that will result in reception of applause. Happiness out of composing poems or creating any form of art should not come from likes or any other approval.
Accept applause, sure, please do.
But when you expect applause, when you do your work in order (and because of) applause, you have sold yourself short. That’s because your work is depending on something out of your control. You have given away part of your art. If your work is filled with the hope and longing for applause, it’s no longer your work–the dependence on approval has corrupted it, turned it into a process where you are striving for ever more approval. ~ Seth Godin