Deconstructing The Post-Pitch Blues

Question: Why do “creatives” get a bad rap for being difficult and emotional?

Answer: Because we are. But not any more than anyone else.

When we participate in the creative process, we add a piece of ourselves into the product. We become attached to the work in a very personal way. As a result we easily take offense when our ideas and work are criticized. I’ve been pitching creative work for over 18 years now and there are still times when I need to check my emotions and avoid “the post-pitch blues”.

Let’s consider three scenarios in which you are assigned a problem and everyone is relying on you to design a solution (and probably in a very short amount of time).

Scenario #1
You go off to brainstorm/ideate/prototype and return with a fantastic idea only to discover your pitch completely misses the mark.

You might find this scenario leads you through the following emotional stages:

Stage 1: Disdain. The client/colleague/boss is an idiot. How can they be so stupid?

Stage 2: Self-aggrandizement. I’m a creative genius. Everyone else is an idiot therefore I should quit my job and become a bartender because I know what it’s like being the only sober person in the room.

Stage 3: Self-loathing. I suck. I’m  a fraud.

This first scenario often sends you back to the drawing board and then this happens:

Scenario #2
You go off to brainstorm/ideate/prototype only to return with an idea you know is substandard and yet your pitch is accepted.

The emotional chain reaction that followed probably looked something like this:

Stage 1: Disdain. The client/colleague/boss is an idiot. How can they be so stupid?

Stage 2: Self-aggrandizement. I’m a creative genius. Everyone else is an idiot therefore I should quit my job and become a bartender because I know what it’s like being the only sober person in the room.

Stage 3: Self-loathing. I suck. I’m  a fraud.

Ok. Enough of that. Let’s take a look at:

Scenario #3
You go off to brainstorm/ideate/prototype, return with a fantastic idea, and discover your pitch is right on! Your client/boss/colleague is tracking with you. The idea keeps getting bigger and better because everyone is on the same page and the creative energy is rockin!

When this happens, if you’re like me, you respond with:

Stage 1: Self-aggrandizement. I’m a creative genius!

Stage 2: Self-doubt. How will I ever do that again?!

Stage 3: Self-loathing. I suck. I’m a fraud.

Yikes! Ok, we’re not all that hard on ourselves. The truth is:

  • We all experience creative success and creative failure.
  • We all place blame on ourselves and others when we fail.
  • We all experience self-doubt, even in the face of success.

If you want to build your creative confidence, it helps to evaluate your emotional reactions to success and failure. An added benefit is that it keeps you honest and humble!

Here’s what I want you to do now:

1. Create your own scenarios: Write them out like I’ve done. Imagine your best, worse, most common creative experiences – or take mine. Now very quickly, describe your range of emotions. Be dead serious. Why? Because here’s where it gets fun. Now make fun of yourself and see just how silly and real those emotions are.

2. Share your results in the comments below. It doesn’t have to be the whole thing. But tell me how you made fun of yourself!

3. If you haven’t already, sign up for the email list. My subscribers get even more articles and tools for improving their creative process.

 

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    About Kevin Tobosa

    Creative strategist and author of Creative-Constructs.com, a blog for everyone seeking tools and techniques for super-charging creative output.

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