You know that saying, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Sometimes I repurpose that sentiment as, “If I create something and don’t share it with anyone, does it matter?

Of course there’s value in the act of creation itself, but I really believe that sharing our work with others is the true purpose of creativity. Not because we’re seeking praise or validation, but because it is the act of putting things out into the world that imbues them with meaning. By letting others experience or interact with it, we give the object/art a reason for being.

For some people, this might come easily. Not for me. I often feel resistance before clicking the publish button on a blog post. I was terrified to share my record with people. Sometimes I get nervous just hitting “Send” on an email.

What’s the resistance about? My Psych 101 class is serving me well here. It’s fear, mostly. Fear that other people will reject it. Fear of embarrassment. Fear that I’ll come up with a better version an hour later.

I’ve learned that the fear is outweighed only by the promise of what’s on the other side of the publish button. And, man, there’s a whole lot of good stuff over there. Seriously, it’s like Christmas.

  • First of all, there’s the satisfaction of checking something off your list. As some clever Twitter user once wrote, “Done is the new perfect.” (I really wish I could attribute that quote, but, alas, I have no idea where I saw it. It’s a gem.)
  • Secondly, there’s the promise of feedback. Ah, feedback. That magic sauce of excellence. That accelerator of growth. That vanquisher of plateaus. (And that’s just the “constructive” feedback. Lots of feedback is the positive, reinforcing, feelgood kind.)
  • You know what else lies just beyond the publish button/art show/book launch party? Your Next Big Thing. Putting something out into the world is a signal to your own brain that you’ve finished it, and you can move on to the next thing. And do you know what’s great about the next thing? It’s probably even better than the last thing.

So, if you find your finger hovering over the mouse, second guessing yourself, remember this:

It doesn’t count if you don’t share it.