He talked about a journey that I think would be extremely familiar to any novelist. He embarked on many false starts as after he quit his job at Google and built several semi-successful sites before finally arriving at one of the most influential designs in the last five years: Pinterest.
In his talk, he mentioned something that really felt familiar to me as a writer, which was that even after all the success he has had with Pinterest he lives at the intersection of terror and joy.
This struck a chord with me because it gets back to how you have to live as a writer. You have to be strong enough to put yourself out there, brave and confident as you share a part of yourself with the world. You do it because you love it so much you’re willing to risk everything negative that can possibly come your way.
But you also have to be self-critical enough to edit your work and fear failure and be worried that your best might not be good enough, which pushes you just that much further. You have to be scared of what will happen if you don’t do your best. You can’t ever get comfortable.
Terror and joy. Confidence and self-doubt. The best artists live right in that uncomfortable middle.
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Art: “The Progress of Poesy” – poem by Thomas Gray, art by William Blake