Pia shares Her Dark Half - Issue #11
September is here and so is Spooky Season! You'll see the word 'fear' tossed around a whole lot; mostly to promote Halloween events or horror movies. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for it - it's my favorite time of the year and it distracts me from the real-life things I fear. It feels like an appropriate time to talk about what many of us fear...
Fear of failure or: I suck as an artist
Yup, I have these moments myself...more than you'd think. And I realize that these moments of doubt will never go away and will always be part of my life. But, it is something that can be sidestepped, managed or even temporarily ignored, with glee!
So, what do you consider failure? That might depend on what 'level' of artist you consider yourself to be. You may not even think of yourself an artist at all.
It doesn't matter, because we all have our 'self-established' version of failure. A professional artist might feel like a failure if they don't sell a certain amount of art in a specific time span or event. Another artist might feel like a loser for not winning prestigious awards or competitions. They may feel like they are not good enough if they didn't receive certain grants or art scholarships. Or if they didn't get accepted into an art gallery, or friends & family don't view/accept them as an artist, or, or, or...the list goes on. Oftentimes, when I try to encourage somebody (who doesn't consider themselves to be an artist) to be creative, I hear statements like this: "I don't have any talent. I can't draw. My paintings aren't art. My writing is not sophisticated enough. I don't have a style. Who cares about my doodles? Oh, it's just SILLY stuff. I'm not really creative. I'm not good enough."
Sound familiar? Then stahp it!
From the start, my goal for this newsletter has been for you to find your unique creative identity, especially if it has a 'shadow' side. If you've been reading my past editions, we've already addressed other obstacles, like time constraints, readiness to create, lack of ideas, creative space challenges and even lazy daze of summer! Now let's see what we can do about that 'fear' that keeps you from even trying.
First of all - you're still reading this and that means you have some desire to be creative. Secondly - who says you have to show your art to the world (right now)? Or ever?
Creating art is for you; and until you feel otherwise, it's for your own development and growth. And enjoyment!
I'm gonna make you work on this. Get ready with a timer!
Here's an exercise for you right now: I'm encouraging you to 'fail'! Write something that is embarrassingly bad! Draw or paint something that makes you friggin' CRINGE! Do your worst!
Pause this newsletter here and come back after the following exercise:
Grab a pen and write the worst poem about being an artist right now. If you don't want to write something, doodle the worst version of a unicorn. That's right. A unicorn. And it better not have a rainbow coming out of its ass! Feel free to make it gross! Make it uggggly! Do it now - you have 5 minutes, tops!
Ok. Did you do it? How horrible/bad/stupid did it turn out? How did it make you feel? Did you laugh at yourself? Good! Did you censor yourself? If yes, do it again, this time without overthinking or editing yourself. Just don't be tempted to read it or look at it again. It was a perfect 'fail'! Now, throw it in the trash! Let it go.
From now on, your art/writing can only get better! You think I'm joking, ha!
Here's the big question, tho: Did it make you feel better, even a little bit, because you did something creative? Even if it sucked? Eh? Come on...admit it, there was a little tingle there...
Do you have any idea how many times I 'failed' at a drawing, ruined a water color painting, screwed up a brush stroke big time, got the color wrong or missed my intended outcome? It happens all the time and it's just part of learning. Failing makes you better because you learn from it. You know this already. You're just frustrated with yourself because it didn't come out the way you envisioned it and you didn't have control! (oh...did I hit a nerve?) Sometimes, just go with the flow and don't be too rigid with an idea. Be flexible - let your gut/muse/mood guide you. Most importantly, be in the moment and be open. I sometimes have to remind myself to take a deep breath before I start on a project. Count back from 5 to 1 and just start.
Fear? Pshaw. You got this! We got way bigger existential things to fear! (oops, is that my gloomy dark side trying to claw itself out?)
Stop comparing yourself with others! Especially on social media! Those great videos and photos you see on Instagram don't represent the usual process of creativity. They don't show the many discarded attempts and 'fails'. Remember, you see only the highlights, the carefully curated content of artists and/or influencers.
Keep up the daily doodles. Just do it. You will get better and start seeing results. I promise! Just ten minutes a day. If you have more time in your day, by all means, dedicate more time! Just keep at it!
In a nutshell: Even established artists and professionals don't produce a masterpiece every time. You're putting way too much pressure on yourself. I used to do it too, but started easing off over the last few years. Once you accept that 'failure' is part of the journey (gawd, I hate using that word, but it fits here), you also start having more fun with it.
That's it for today - thank you for not unsubscribing! I've definitely written better editions (see what I did there?). Sometimes I have better writing days, sometimes better painting days....All I can do is keep creatin'!
As always, have a creative weekend!
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Thank you from the bottom of my black little heart!
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