Preface: Between a M.A. and and E.P., I needed to take the time to write the following letter to me. I decided to make it an open letter, from me to myself, and everyone else who's ever made something.
You did it! You made the thing. You worked very hard and other people came alongside you to make it better. The music got recorded and mixed, and re-mixed, and mixed again. You started to wear down the keys on your keyboard. There were a lot of days you hated this project you love very deeply, because it was too much like you (messy, incomplete, with a mind of its own, and beloved). It never looked like what you intended, especially when you let the work speak for itself. You had to see your vision through the mistakes and hold your own hand sometimes. A lot of friends made this whole thing less terrible. There are people who's gif sets will be counted as righteousness.
But now the thing is made, and you saw that it was... good. There's nothing wrong with seeing that you made something well. And you saw the places it could still grow, but you knew that letting it grow on your hard drive was not the answer. There were deadlines. More importantly, you knew you had taken it where it could go. There was nothing else you could add-- not a word, not another image, nothing. You felt that, for better or worse, you had made what your heart had birthed. Birth is the right word for it, isn't it? There were parts that were painful. There are things that no one else will feel quite so strongly about. You did what you could to make it, and make it well, and now it exists.
Now, to some extent or another, what you made is in the world. You made the thing, and hopefully other people like it. There's nothing you can do to make them love it any more; you can only introduce people to your work, letting go of your bright-eyed art with its shiny new shoes and backpack full of crayons. And you can know that it is not perfect, and that you gave it everything you had.
More than that, you are currently making a thing, maybe a few. Some of them are invisible to everyone, and one is already in full view of a small public. Good on you! Your work is out there, and you didn't let it break your heart when the ripples felt small. You started something else, and get to pass along what you learned while you were making stuff.
You made things this year. You are making more things this year. Love them as you go, give it your all, let people help you make them better, and let them live.