I’m sure that in your years as a living, breathing human being on planet earth you’d have many a time heard sayings along the lines of “nobody can do it alone” and “everyone needs someone” and so forth. Typically though some people (like myself) can identify as lone wolves, stubbornly tackling problems solo because they believe themselves capable and are determined enough to learn and overcome challenges no matter what. However in matters of the arts that can only get you so far, and in reality you truly do need what other human beings call support if you are to thrive.
Now some of you may be confident in your ability to do things alone. That’s perfectly fine. But it’s important to understand that everybody needs someone, cliched as it may sound, and those needs differ from person to person. At the end of the day it only takes a single person to believe in you and what you’re doing to give you the encouragement you need to persevere, or to make you see something you previously didn’t consider. The golden rule of art is that it’s made infinite by its observers, by other voices, and thus it would probably not be the best idea to limit it to only your own perspective, even if you are the creator.
My point is that if you’re creating something, whether you’re writing or composing or painting or even cooking, don’t confine yourself to your own mind and thoughts. Invite those close to you or those you trust for support. How you do it depends entirely on your personality and what you thrive off of. I personally do best when my girlfriend encourages me and reads my work and offers me feedback as a reader herself. That for me is the best possible thing I can get while writing my books, and having that belief in me means more than I can express. Another core reason I love discussing my book ideas with her is because it forces me to vocalise ideas, and often things can make sense or seem to work in your mind but the true test comes when attempting to explain them practically.
The other thing I want to emphasise is that often it only really takes the support or encouragement of one person to make the difference for you. You may feel fine on your own, but as soon as you receive feedback towards your work, whether in the form of a review, friend or helper of any kind, it can often change a great number of things ranging from how you feel about your work to the depths of it. It’s extremely easy to talk about your ideas as you see them, but it’s an exceptionally difficult thing to consider how a reader would see them. Thus being challenged by a third party can yield dividends.
In closing to this short message don’t try to do everything alone or to hide your work from those close to you until it’s “ready”, because as my mother loved saying “ready means by the door”. In her context she used to say it whenever we were meant to leave somewhere and my brother and I would declare that we’re ready to go, but we’re still sitting at our computers doing our things. Applying that to this context, your work being ready means it has reached a point where it can be released from your grasp to commercial and/or critical reaction. However your work can be seen and commented on long before that stage ever comes, so don’t lose sight of that.
Take it from me. I’ve written without any support and I’ve written with it, and having it wins every single time. It’s as simple as asking a close friend or relative to take a peek at what you’re doing, and if you have none of those you can always buy them. Or more seriously, cast out small portions of it to the vast island that is the internet, and let capable strangers give you the support, criticism or feedback you need.