One of my most consistent creative blocks is thinking about how what I’m making is going to be received. I can go round and round in circles in my head for ages worrying about this or that. (Btw it’s one of the reasons I try to write longhand and then type-up rather than type straight in to a machine that’s designed for editing rather than composition.)
This morning I was writing and the thought came “What’s the worst that can happen?” and after I had a couple of little fantasies about my favourite critics’ put-down lines, I wrote “nothing”. Exactly. *That’s* the worst that can happen: I hit publish/send/tweet/upload and I get *nothing* back. I’m much more bothered by silence in the face of publication than having my errors pointed out or by someone’s silly misinterpretation or misunderstanding of what I’m trying to say.
Why? Because I interpret that silence as indifference or hostility. Hostility so strong that there’s just nothing to say or the fear that I’ve written something so meh that people can’t even be bothered to work out how to type “tut”. The silence of eyes rolling.
How about a more supportive interpretation? What am I doing when I’m being quiet (not just online, but all the time)? Often, I’m just being, breathing quietly and being aware of my breath. Listening, processing but not necessarily reacting immediately. What if the network were like that? What if silence could mean acceptance, appreciation, assimilation of ideas?