Never Share Your WIPs

Bad habits are usually easily recognizable. If you procrastinate, you know that you are procrastinating. If you’re being lazy, you know that you’re being lazy. If you’re not working out, you know that as well.

Occasionally, however, you have certain habits that aren’t even clear that are habits because of how infrequently you are used to engaging in them.

One such habit is sharing your works in progress.

This habit caught me bad.

The worst part is that it isn’t even initially obvious what is wrong with it.

I used to see artists on social media do it all the time and I thought it was a good idea.

Anyway, I’ll put the boring details later in case you’re still reading, let’s cut to the chase.

Whenever you share your WIP, there’s a few things that happen.

You think you’ve done something#

This one is, and was, the most obvious to me at the time. But I took this as a challenge and thought that I could power through it. ( Spoiler: I couldn’t )

Whether we realise it or not, whenever we are presenting something. Some way or another, just by other people seeing that work, it gives a sense of validation and relief. It scratches an itch.

Whenever we are working towards something, ideally we want to make it as good as possible to our vision of how we want it to turn out. The longer you wait on something like that, the longer you are unsure, the more thought goes into ‘perfecting’ the end product.

As you can imagine, soon as you share something and get any sort of feedback, you’re going to lose some of that itch. Especially if whatever you’re working on hasn’t become a habit to you yet.

You become confused#

It takes a while to rev up momentum for whatever you’re doing. And as you’re in motion, you’d like to stay in motion and keep doing what is working. You are running on a certain train of thought, making turns whenever you want. Influenced only by the things that you know you’d want to be influenced by.

If you share your work, you get feedback. That feedback and just taking the time to share work and looking at others’ opinions on a similar piece of work or your work can take you on journeys that you did not know that you wanted to go on.

Sure, they are sometimes fruitful. And if you’re used to a pattern where it is constantly a source of gains for you, then that’s fine, that’s your process, your method.

Most often, it is distracting. Instead of going in that direction you were headed, now you’re looking for meaning here and there and before you know it, you start questioning every decision that you made along the way.

You become delusional#

There’s nothing worse than a fake compliment. If someone is being critical of you or makes a rude remark, you can chalk it up to anything and brush it off.

But if someone or many people give you a fake sense of where you stand, that can be more detrimental to you in the long run.

Often, people who react to criticism negatively and are vocal about it start to surround themselves with yes men all around them without even realising it.

Some people do want that actively because they are narcissistic, but oftentimes it happens without you even knowing.

A very common example that I often come across is when people only like comments that are positive about their WIP.

Eventually, without giving those people any reason to comment again, they feel left out of the conversation or interaction and don’t feel like the relationship they have with you is two way in any shape or form and start dropping out of it altogether.

All this combined, gives you a false sense of where you stand.

In summary#

In my personal experience, I have seen many budding artists, designers, developers and more simply drop out of the whole project ( even profession ) more often than not with those that did share their work.

It may be that the combination or one effect out of the aforementioned issues gets them and it keeps accumulating over time and bogs them down enough to not continue forward.

Like the saying goes, it’s better to work in silence and let the result shine.

I would go so far as to say that you shouldn’t even share your WIPs with your close friends and family because their validation probably scratches that itch more than some random person’s opinion.

© Aryansh Malviya 2023