When you see a successful artist or creative person doing their thing, are you inspired and wish you could do what they do? Instead of believing in yourself does self-doubt, or the risk of rejection, ridicule or humiliation stop you? It might be the creative act itself or taking the artwork to the next level and letting other people see it that stops you. However, the need to be creative is a powerful force. When I haven’t been to the studio for a little while l feel its loss. I’m sure many people reading this can relate to the need to be creative and also the need to hide their talents.
Have you heard about the sad story about a lady called Vivian Maier who lived in Chicago? http://www.vivianmaier.com Vivian spent most of life working as a caregiver. When she died, there were over 100,000 negatives found in a storage unit in her name. Throughout her life, she hid her passion from the outside world. There is lots of speculation about why she did this, but no one will ever know for sure apart from Vivian herself. Since her death, Vivian’s work has been compared to the world renowned photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.
I think we build up self-doubt in our heads and it becomes a mindset that is often overwhelming. It seems that Vivian hid her gift from the world because of her vulnerability. I have also been trying to find a way to overcome the self doubt problem. I found these words of advice from successful artists useful:
Vincent Van Gogh; “If you hear a voice within saying I cannot paint by all means paint and that voice will be silenced”.
Susan Hiller; “To a young artist, I would say: just go day by day and see what happens. Don’t worry about other people’s judgment.”
Rachel Jones; “Ultimately, you have to understand who you are making your work for: it should be for you, that is the first thing.”
This is all very good advice but life isn’t that simple. Questions like how to find time, how to keep positive while keeping your vision and integrity are extremely challenging.
In Eric Fischl’s book, ‘Bad Boy’, he gives some interesting advice, “Art is a process and a journey. All artists have to find ways to lie to themselves, find ways to fool themselves into believing that what they’re doing is good enough, the best they can do at that moment, and that’s okay. Every work of art falls short of what the artist envisioned. It is precisely that gap between their intention and their execution that opens up the door for the next work.”
And Chuck Close said, “‘Bread crumbs’, by working, stuff comes out of working. That is very different from dreaming something up and executing it. Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us show up and get to work.”
One further explanation from John Cleese. Most of the time we are in a closed mind, think when we are at work. There is a tension and pressure to get the work done. There is lots to be done, and we have to get on with it so there is little humour. It is purposeful time but not creative time.
Then there is the open mode, where we are relaxed and playful in what we do. We follow our curiosity as we are not under pressure. Through play we find what we like and want to do.
Do you have any thoughts on this subject? What do you do to enable yourself to carry on when self-doubt creeps in? Do you have any words of advice to help overcome self-doubt and procrastination? Do you feel held back from following your creative instincts?
All comments most welcome!!! Please join in the conversation and make a comment.