“I can’t do that…I’ve got a core group of people I serve, and they want to see new stuff from me,” she said, one month into motherhood and sleep deprived on a Thursday morning.
I protested. “But…it’s not like what you write only applies to one day. Brilliant articles about the way minds work or why consumers do what they do aren’t only relevant for one day a year!”
She sighed. “Okay…okay.”
Like many of us, she’s tempted to keep creating and creating, pushing and pushing without end.
We’re all subjected to the absolute tyranny of The New.
(Note the caps, people: this is serious. The New.)
In social media terms, if it was created more than 30 minutes (or seconds) ago, it’s useless or worthless or irrelevant, unless it’s showing up in a retro-oriented Buzzfeed quiz or freaking ancient and on display at The Met.
Only The New isn’t necessarily The Best. Relentlessly pushing ourselves to produce and produce and produce — without stopping to reflect and to curate, eliminating our weakest works — doesn’t serve anyone best.
It keeps us grinding ourselves down, wearing away our shiniest bits until our messages are, collectively, muted.
It’s okay to show us what you’ve already created. We’d love to see your very best work.
Further, it’s okay to profit from the work you’ve already completed.
If you created 14 paintings you’re proud of last year, scan ’em and sell prints until you’re 89 years old.
If you’ve created a catalog of travel photography or stock photography, organize it and let yourself profit from it until you freaking retire.
It’s okay to keep talking about The Not-New.
We’d love to see your freshest stuff — but sometimes, we’d rather have your BEST work than your most recent.
Let yourself have Greatest Hits. Rhythms you return to. Stylistic patterns that repeat.
These are the basic components of your voice in the world.
They’re what make you…YOU.
Revel in them. Refuse to give in to the tyranny of The New.
After all. The stars have been doing the same old thing for millions of years, and we’re still quite smitten with their collective shine.
P.S. I’m proud of you.