On smiling, the pressure of creativity, and shipping
On smiling If I could prescribe you one activity that will improve the rest of your life, it would be smiling. Smiling requires commitment, however, and sometimes that’s hard to live up to. When you decide to look at someone as they pass by and smile, you can’t hesitate or hedge on your bet that they will smile back. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter whether or not they smile back. It’s unimportant whether or not they’re having a good day prior to this moment. Your sole job is to smile a true, genuine smile, and hope that in some way, you can transfer your happiness to them. That’s it!
On the pressure of creativity Logically, it’s not hard to understand what you’ve done by writing a book. You’ve put words on paper for other people to read. As expected, they are reading those words and reacting accordingly. Some will not like the book all that much, but others seem to love it. That’s where the real pressure comes from, as you’re experiencing now. People that you would have never expected to read your book are telling you that it is truly great—I can see how that feels like a lot of pressure! It’s not pressure to make sure that everyone enjoys it, it’s pressure to make sure that everyone you were writing to is satisfied with what they have read. It is an odd feeling to have shipped a project as large as a book and simply released it into the world for judgment. That’s okay—that’s why you create in the first place.
On shipping As a creator, you can’t simply create for no reason. There must be some sort of end goal or desired outcome for your projects. If you are designing with no purpose, then you are not designing. You’re just decorating. If you are writing with no purpose, then you are not writing. You’re just making lines on paper. What makes your work worthwhile is the fact that you plan on shipping it. You intend to show it to others, and you intend for it to have a certain effect on them. This all relies on shipping your creation. You must ship it out the door, and deliver it to other people. You can do this by posting your writing publicly, selling your book, giving a speech, or any other way that you can get your creation out there. But you have to get it out there, and see if you have done what you originally intended to do.