There are two parts to our process. The first half is the creating part. It’s when we meet with our contributors, look at swatches, write, design, revise, and revise some more. The second half is the sharing part - this is the part where we focus on getting the word out.
The creating part is marked by what we call “cave time”. It’s easy to get demotivated since the deadlines are mostly defined between the two of us and there’s no immediate feedback apart from a few friends who serve as sounding boards.
On the contrary, the sharing part is often marked by excitement. People are seeing the outcome for the first time. Dopamine kicks in. It’s a beautiful feeling to be appreciated, to have a sliver of people’s attention. But we need to remind ourselves that the first half, the part where we just do the work, that is the core of what we do.
It’s not wrong to crave attention or recognition from others since external feedback can make your craft better, but you have to show up for your craft even when no one is looking. Make the most out of the days when ideas just flow and there’s nothing else in the world you would rather do. It’s the space and time where you can experiment, make mistakes, and learn.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt recently gave a TED talk about how craving attention actually makes us less creative. “If your creativity is driven by a desire to get attention, you are never going to be creatively fulfilled,'' he said. Instead of seeking attention, he encourages creatives to pay attention to their work. To enjoy the state of flow. Whatever external attention you receive will be secondary to that feeling.