Feedback is an awesome thing. We can learn from the thoughts of others. We can improve our craft (no matter what it is) and grow as artists. I love being able to see what people enjoy and what they don't and how I can do better in the future.
Then sharing ideas and brainstorming with friends is one of my favorite parts of the creative process. There are so many times when I've been stuck on something and after talking it out with someone else I find a way out of the hole I've gotten myself into. Art (no matter what kind) isn't a solitary thing. It should be done with other people.
Yet... I wonder if there is a line when we get too many opinions and get lost in what others think.
I follow a writing Instagram page and found this quote:
I may not have liked how Veronica Roth ended the Divergent trilogy, but I have to agree with her on this one. I think I get lost in all of the voices around me. I see what other bloggers are writing and doing and I try to be the same way. Or I worry too much about what others will think of me if I put something out there. While working on my stories I think about "but would this be marketable? Will agents like this?" Even in theatre I debate back and forth if I should join a community theatre because I worry about if others will think it's silly, there isn't any talent, or I'm not moving on with my life. I think about people from my past who might see a show and judge me for some reason or other.
But do those things always matter? Some of them are good questions to ask... but when does it become too much?
During NaNoWriMo this past year, I got major writers block and sought out the help of another friend who was a writer. We sat in his "man cave" for a few hours hashing out my story and thinking of new plot-lines and ways the story could go. I left feeling energized and excited for what was going to happen next. It was exactly what I needed!
Then, weeks, maybe even months, later as I was writing, there were some parts of that brainstorming session I began to second-guess. Would my character really do that? Is this truly the direction I want the story to go in? What was the point again? There were elements I definitely wanted to keep, but I had this feeling if I kept everything my friend and I had come up with, I would loose something. So, I'm going back to some other elements and parts my friend had told me to get rid of. The ones they felt were boring and lame. But when I think about it, I realized I still need to keep the heart of my story. It may not be everyone's favorite, but it's what I wanted.
It's so easy to lose track of why we do what we do. Whether it's in art, our careers, family, friends, whatever. We get lost in the opinions of other people. We worry about the little details. The politics and business of whatever we're doing becomes overwhelming and we forget why we started in the first place.
Sometimes, we need to take a step back. We need to listen to the voices, but also know when to shut them out.