It all started so innocently at first.
The extra-long walks.
The stretched out lunches.
The “work is so crazy right now.”
They were signs of a voice I’ve battled before. One who threatens all not-yet-successful people.
Last week I wrote a post on Medium that got big. Really big. Like “wait, did you guys confuse me for James Altucher or some other famous author?” big. I was three spots below Gary Vaynerchuck. Ten spots below the CEO of AirBnb.
This is what we Internet creatives live for right? The attention. The viral potential. The home run. The reach we could have never achieved even 10 years ago.
I thanked people on Twitter, responded to everyone who left a note. Said thank you, thank you, thank you, and then watched my numbers grow.
The rush of going viral (even semi-viral) is addictive. That’s why we’re all here, isn’t it?
What people don’t talk about is the next step. What happens after you hit that peak point and the numbers slow down? What happens when people stop drinking from that particular well?
The Rebound begins to speak:
“That was the best thing you’ve ever written… now you’re finished.”
This isn’t my first encounter with the beast. In college I wrote a sports piece which did very well around campus. Everywhere I went, people were giving me thumbs up. I got dozens of comments on Facebook.
I was so proud of myself.
Then I promptly wrote ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for four months. Not a single word.
Each time I would sit down to type, the voice got loud:
“Why bother? You won’t do anything better than that.”
Confused and convinced he was right, I would close my laptop and dive into something much safer… like television or schoolwork.
The Rebound that accompanies success is much much MUCH louder than the one which accompanies failure. At least we expect failure.
We don’t expect success, so we don’t know what to do with it.
Loving the work, not the result, is critical.
If you love the work, you will find a way to write another song, to design another piece, to come up with another idea.
If you love the work, you’ll get back in the chair, you’ll pull out your guitar, your camera, or your paintbrush.
If you love the work, you’ll kick The Rebound in the face and chase the muse, no matter where she goes.
If you love the work, Creation beats affirmation.