I'm learning to expand beyond my trusty ball point pen and am practicing drawing with carbon pencil. Trees are tough but with enough practice, I hope to understand the essence of trees. Whether or not this tree succeeds is not the question - I'm just drawing and if it takes me 10,000 drawings of trees to get it right - then 10,000 drawings of trees it shall be!
I'm a member of Danny Gregory
's Everyday Matters Yahoo Group
and recently, Louise
, one of the members posted an email regarding doubt. More specifically, she asked how members of the group overcome those days when the creativity doesn't seem to flow and the insecurity is at an all time high.
How does one continue to promote one's art without the self-consciousness and the fear of being labeled pretentious?
I am very familiar with these feelings so I shared with her some of the ways that I get through those days.
Being confident isn't everything but it helps.
Having confidence is certainly key to a creative person's success - whether it's believing that you'll eventually be able to paint the way you want to or be able to make a good living from your own creative work. After all, if you don't believe in yourself, why should others?
Having written that, I also believe that it's not as essential as some other traits. Because like the ability to draw and paint, I believe confidence can be acquired and strengthened with practice. It's like a muscle - without the daily exercise, the daily practice, the daily doing - your confidence muscle can atrophy.
So, how to overcome the insecurities and gain confidence?
Being unafraid to fail is more important than confidence.
One of my creative goals is to be able to illustrate the ideas I have floating around in my head so I've taken to doodling in my journal to find my style. I don't know if I suck or am perceived as pretentious but it ultimately doesn't matter. I am sharing my process of finding my own style. For instance, The Locks of Love illustration is an idea for an upcoming charity event, and the devil-child & cat was Halloween inspiration.
Gain more confidence by doing, painting, drawing, getting yourself out there, participating in conversations, blogging about it, then failing, then learning, and keeping on going.
Learn not to be afraid to make the mistakes. And if there is fear, acknowledge the fear but don't let your actions be controlled by it. That is at the heart of confidence.
Here are a couple of quotes that I absolutely love and keep close to my heart:
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
And my all-time favorite Thomas Edison quote:
I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
Ack! But what if I suck? What if my work is seen as pretentious?
Recent mark-makings in my sketchbook & playing with color.
Yes, I've heard those words in my own head many times. Here's my take on it:
So what if I suck? Yes, I am going to suck, I am going to fail, I am going to make mistakes. See the above paragraph on how to overcome the suckiness and failures.
But eventually, I will figure it out by continuing to draw and create and practice. In the drawing and creating and practicing, my work might come off as pretentious, but that is all a part of figuring out who I am as an artist. The same thing applies to you.
And on the subject of pretentiousness - I think that comes through when a person isn't being authentically themselves, pretending to be someone they are not. But that is a judgment call and is so subjective. You can't control what others think about you anyway so go ahead and just be yourself and have fun doing it!
Maybe you just need a break from the creativity.
So when the doubts hit, and the anxiety, stress and worries start to kick in, maybe you just need to go for a nice long walk. Just like with physical exercise and rest, your creativity muscles also need to relax.
For me, the external world can sometimes get so loud that I can't hear myself think, let alone be creative. Those are the days when I shut off my computer, I throw the dogs in the car, and take a nice long hike up in the hills. I will come back feeling rejuvenated, and more ready to face that blank piece of paper or canvas.
What have you done that's worked for you?
Other members of the EDM group suggested switching from one's media of choice to another that one doesn't always work with. And others suggested just doodling and making marks in one's sketchbook (another one of my personal favorites).
What do you do to overcome doubt?