The ‘What Now?’ Feeling

I’m the kind of person who loves to work towards a goal. Having an end date in sight and breaking down a task to ensure that I meet that deadline is the best way for me to be productive. So during November I really enjoyed working on sketching the rain, even though it was stressful at times, because I knew that whatever I had on November 30th would be a finished work. However, as soon as I had uploaded the tracks and shared the final results on Facebook and Twitter I got a familiar sinking feeling. It was finished. It was out of my hands. What now?

The ‘What now?’ feeling is my least favourite moment of the creative process. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons (apart from cost) that I’m not doing a PhD. During my masters, my partner got fed up with me moping around the flat after handing in an assignment saying “I should have done this differently!” or “What if it’s terrible?!” It’s slightly ironic that I’ve chosen a career which is almost entirely project-based and she might have to put up with that moping even more!

I think there are two main reasons for my what-now-itis. The first is that I put time and energy into a project…and then it’s suddenly gone. There’s an empty hole where that project once was and I don’t always have something else to turn to. Luckily, at the moment I have a lot of projects on the go (see my What I’m Working On page), but even so, I spent a good couple of days feeling a sense of loss at the end of November.

The second reason is that I have no control over something once it is finished. While I’m working on a project, I can change things as much as I like until it’s as close to my intentions as possible. But once it’s finished I have to send it out into the world to make its own way. It might travel its way around the internet a bit, reaching people’s ears, or it might sit there ignored and neglected. The response to sketching the rain was wonderful – all the kind words, streams and downloads (even paid downloads – thank you so much!) pulled me out of the ‘What now?’ feeling very quickly. So thank you, wonderful people. You made me very happy.

Some of this might sound a bit dramatic, but if you’ve ever had the ‘What now?’ feeling you’ll know what I mean. I think the best cure is to throw myself into another project, so that’s what I’m doing! And next Wednesday I’ll let you all know how it’s going!

If you haven’t read my post on sketching the rain yet, have a look!

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