It's a hard word, vulnerability. Very personal, very open, but it is essential to the creative process, regardless of the medium.

First, vulnerability ensures that we are honest with our art. For our art, we must infuse what is uniquely us into our work. If we do not, then what we are making is neither genuine nor essential. We have held back that which only our perspective can provide and have not done our best. We have to be vulnerable with ourselves to make our best, honest work. If you do that, your strengths and weaknesses collocate on your creative canvas to provide your best color palette. And it is that blend of colors, your treasures and your pain, which is the best thing, the only thing you need to make and share. 

Second, vulnerability is essential to the act of sharing in the creative process. Much like not being honest with ourselves when we create, if we do not make ourselves vulnerable in sharing our work, then we are not doing our best work. 

“Vulnerable is the only way we can feel when we truly share the art we’ve made.” - Seth Godin, V is for Vulnerable

Showing the world something that you made is hard enough, putting something that you honestly made up for the world to interact with is even more difficult. You have to leave your art alone for the world to love, hate, or ignore. Much like watching your child walk for the first time, you have to let it go.

Third, you have to be vulnerable by being open for feedback. You have to let the feedback about your work, both positive and negative, reach you. While it is okay to close your eyes and ears to the trolls and stone throwers out there, you have to be receptive to both the good and bad feedback. While your work has not been, is not now, and never will be perfect, it can only get better with the synergistic combination of practice and feedback. 

"There are situations in which it is more dangerous to keep your balance than to lose it." - Adam Phillips

Finally, vulnerability is not a one-time event. It is an every-time event. As long as you want to walk the creative road, you must be vulnerable. If you want to write some words, paint a few brush strokes, or play a series of notes with intention, you have to vulnerable. Just as your skill and mastery of your medium will grow with practice and time, your vulnerability must grow as well to keep you honest with both the work and yourself.

Are you ready?


J.D. Nolen is a physician who expresses his creativity through writing. His book, Unlock Your Creativity, is now available on Amazon. You can follow him via his blog or on Twitter.

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