Is Facebook’s “Meta” A Creativity-Killer?

Steven Barnes
3 min readNov 10, 2021

“When I’m writing, I’m preoccupied with not writing well. But after I’m finished, it sounds sane and interesting. Does anyone here write with confidence from the gate? Are you confident throughout the process? I watched the fictional film they made about Shirley Jackson suffering through the writing of a particular novel. I have a friend that giggles at her own cleverness when she writes…I want to do that!” — Misty Sol


To be honest, even after millions of words published, I still have the self-doubt and negative voices I always had. The difference is that I know I don’t have to pay attention to them. They are useful, in the sense that pain and fear help you pay attention. But once you HAVE focused your attention, you no longer need the negative emotions. I let ’em stick around because I’d rather be uncomfortable than sloppy. I’ve done that before in my life and career.

On Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, when I wrote my first episodes (“Teacher’s Aide”, “A Stitch In Time”) I absolutely brought my A-Game. I knew this was a life-changing opportunity, and I BURNED with the desire to do good, to get approval, to raise the level of my game.

But then…then I was told “these are the best first scripts we’ve ever seen!” and my ego went through the roof.

And…things went downhill.

On “Teacher’s Aide” I was asked to expand my twenty-page script to thirty pages. AND I FROZE. My pride in the first draft led directly to paralysis in the second.

I wasn’t in alignment with my “deep self”…

My “pretender voices” were screaming at me that I wasn’t good enough…

All the expectations and opportunities CRUSHED me…

Has that ever happened to you? You make your first move, or story, or conversational gambit and you are TERRIFIC. And then when your opponent counters, or the editor asks for another story, or that HE or SHE smiles and moves a little closer….YOU FREEZE?

All of this is a lack of clarity and connection, an inappropriate use of your powerful emotions. Fear was not intended to hurt you. It was intended to RAISE YOUR GAME. Get your attention. Prepare you to do your absolute best.

But we got scrambled around. This industrialized, virtual world denies us the daily contact with reality that helps us understand our minds, bodies, and emotions in a natural way…

Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts.