do you have creator’s remorse?

November 23, 2011

in Around The Internet, Dyana, Internet, Passion, Say What You Mean, Woke Up Knowing

My friend, Melanie Martin posted this on Facebook:

I commented:

Great story! It hit me in the belly. I call it “creator’s remorse.” It happens for me .every.single.time. I release something into the world or work with a complex client or project. Every.single.time. Here’s what I do to treat the malady:

  • Tell the whole story: the situation/set up, what happened next, the result, and the after-result (what I felt like afterwards);
  • Make a list of:

+ Things I’ll never do again (never take a client/gig when your gut is telling you to RUN)
+ Things I could have approached differently
+ Things that totally surprised me (that I really couldn’t have been ready for)

  • Finally, I commit to NOT doing the first, systematizing the second, and praying for the third (well, the good ones, at least).

Three BONUS acts of remorse-prevention (always go for prevention versus treatment, right? Right!)

  1. “CUT IT OUT!” Say it out loud. Voice your complaints once, and then start your next project with those adjustments in mind. Are you doing a crappy job at your job? Then sharpen your craft, take a class or get a mentor.
  2. PLAN time for creator’s remorse recovery (including bitchfesting). It’s taxing to be seen, to put something out in the world. You suddenly see it as if you are seeing it through 10,000 others’ eyes. You know how different a new boyfriend or girlfriend looks after you’ve introduced them to your friends? Yeah, like that. So, PLAN for it. Set a walk&talk date with a friend who will listen with a scribe’s ear to hear the things that might actually be useful to you and forgive the gripe-fest parts. Then, listen back to your friend, say, “thank you for listening” and then pat yourself on the back for making art or doing your job or taking the risk to go big and belly flop.
  3. Get a hobby to distract yourself while you come down from post-completion syndrome so you have something to do with your hands besides shovel chocolate covered potato chips (damn you, Trader Joes!).

As for Melanie? Following our Facebook exchange, she had this to say:

I think accepting and planning for the fact that I will feel this way will help a lot. I am planning to not dive into the editing straight after the event but mourn a bit for a day and then tackle it because this way I can put some distance between the exhausted “I just shot a wedding” feeling and the dread of looking at the photos. And maybe accepting that all is not as bad as I see it and try to see it through my clients’ eyes will help.

Your turn: do you have creator’s remorse? What do you do about it? Tell me in the comments, puh-leeze. Thank you.

_ _ _

Now share the anti-creator’s remorse love with a friend with these handy pre-made tweets:

Know anything about creator’s remorse? @_melaniemartin and @DyanaValentine do…

Creator’s remorse usually presents as a bitchfest–what are you doing about it? @DyanaValentine & @_melaniemartin tell here:

@DyanaValentine and @_melaniemartin suffer from creator’s remorse. Do you?


Did you know that I’m doing free monthly calls? Well, now you do–so click here and sign up to get the call in info. This month’s is this Friday, yes Black Friday. What better time to tune in, listen to a dream and ask your burning questions? Hear you there.

  • nasrin shah abushakra

    Perfect timing! I really needed this one b/c I just started to serve as a volunteer on an advisory board and it started to feel a lil uncomfortable.  It felt as if I am adding a lot of value but not getting so much back in fact, was asked to work on a project with very lil support, I did stumble to say the least.  I didn’t even know who I am working with? Who is paying the bills and how?  Then I found out some people are getting paid for their work?  What?! Crazy, but it’s my fault, I didn’t ask enough questions, I piled WAY too much on my plate and it was a huge turn off.  Lesson learned.  Thank you for this very meaningful and post.  

  • Syndee Stein

    Ohhh great tips, Dyana.  I love that you don’t just let the bad feeling linger.  You face it and find out what you can do differently.  I especially dig the part about trusting your guts. 

  • Michelle

    I especially like #1 on your list – I just (like, 30 minutes ago, haha) finished reading “The Education of Millionaires” by Michael Ellsberg and one of the things he talks about is a mindset. He references a man who had a rule that when something bad or when he wasn’t happy with something, he was allowed to bitch and moan about it as much as he wanted…for five minutes. And then after that, no more. Not strictly related to creator’s remorse, but good advice nonetheless. 

    I think one way that we can try and prevent creator’s remorse ahead of time is getting really, really, reallyreallyreally clear on what we need to do our best work and then *talking about it*. I had a sorta similar situation lately where I felt frustrated and like what I was doing was of no help to the woman (who, like Melanie’s clients, actually found it quite helpful), and it was because of a mismatch in the conditions *she* had and the conditions that *I* work best in. What made me feel better was to talk it out and then go edit the copy to make it as absolutely clear as I could what I could and could not do, and what I worked best with. 

  • Leigh

    big time. i always get that jumbled-up feeling after i release something into the world. i usually take a shower, light a few candles, and read a book. i need distraction-less time to get some perspective. i like your list, def more actionable.

  • Rebecca

    Wow! I had no idea that so many people experienced this. 
    I have one small bit of encouragement to share from my very wonderful husband. I was in the middle of a bitchfest–you know, the kind that goes–I can’t believe I missed that, there is too much space between the “n” and the “s”. I should have kerned just a little more.–and my husband tells me, “Babe, there is no one else in the world that is going to notice that little mistake. They are going to look at the whole project and be excited about the final product.” Very few people in the world look at anything with as skeptical eyes as you will. The only reason you see mistakes is because you are so close to the end result. Give yourself time, relax, switch project and then in a few days–or a week–come back and look at it again. My prediction. . .you have done the best job you could with the time given and that project or product is perfect.

  • Anonymous

    ohhhh, yess, you seriously soothed me today, Rebecca. we all need some of this love perspective. YES to switching the channels when this one is making you all obsessy and not nice to yourself. Fabulous–thank you.

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