Maybe someone else (smarter, handsomer, and more present) has already coined this, but I’ve been interested in what I’ve been calling moderate failure.

Moderate failure is the point in one’s endeavours where you’ve stopped receiving negative feedback, but also aren’t receiving any good feedback. It’s the apathy phase where it’s not good enough to be praised and not bad enough to be an easy critique target.

You are now adrift. That’s both good and bad.

You’re left to figure it out solely on your own whims. Missing the touch points of critique it’s harder to sharpen your own work and, more broadly, your craft. That’s a difficult place to be. For some it’s probably harder than receiving harsh and pointed criticism, carving away at your work.

The good point is that it means you’ve crossed a threshold many people, thinner skinned and less obnoxiously hard headed, failed to breach. You’ve failed spectacularly, kept your head down, and kept on moving. Moderate failure is proof that you’ve improved.

So what to do?

Persevere. It’s served you well this long. Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep moving. Keep seeking out allies.