It used to be more common for vendors to set up stands with food, clothes, jewelry, or whatever strange oddities they created.
Now, we mostly do that on the internet.
Sometimes, I feel like my stand has nothing on it; that I’m just kind of hanging around, watching all the people walk by.
I see the other vendors around me shouting at passersby, telling them to “buy, buy, buy!”
I look down at my stand and don’t see much more than the wood it’s made from.
Just words. Air. My thoughts.
But, that’s only sometimes.
I have a little workshop, behind the stand, and this is where I spend much of my time.
Because, like many others, I’m a craftsman.
Inside the workshop, I hone my craft, creating pieces here and there.
Re-sculpting, re-framing, re-working…just crafting.
Once in a while, I will show my work to someone whose judgement I trust. This is because I want to get better, not because I want validation.
At least, that’s what I regularly tell myself.
The truth is, receiving validation for your work is really nice. That’s why so many in the creative field strive to be movie stars, rock stars, shooting stars.
And a reason why so many fail.
When the validation becomes the key motivator, it has a profound impact on the work.
Even those who reach “the top” are liable to suffer the hardest falls if they put out a bad piece.
Because, here’s another truth:
Validation is fleeting.
Doing something good that the public sees sets expectations.
And meeting (or exceeding) expectations leads to rewards of further validation.
If one person or a million said “Good job,” it would feel good for a time, but eventually, we’d return to that same place of wanting validation.
We get a little bit.
Then, we want more.
But it always leads back to that desire, which will consume us if we let it.
Those who truly succeed in their respective creative fields are those who are in it for the long haul, primarily because they enjoy making their things. They do it whether or not they receive validation.
This is how I’m trying to view my own creative work.
While I have little to offer at this point aside from my “experiences in crafting”, I will continue to try, at least. Try to maintain, improve and offer encouragement to those who are doing the same.
Eventually, I’ll have something on my stand that I can really be proud of.
Where is your little stand and what’s on it?