I was reminded today of an important turning point in my creative life. A woman wrote to me and asked, “How do you keep your confidence up (without letting it dissipate) to keep living your creative dream?”
What came to mind is something a friend of mine told me years ago. I was saying something self-deprecating and insecure about my artwork and he turned to me and said, “When are you going to take it for granted that you are a talented artist? When are you going to stop trying to prove it? Assume it. Take it for granted and imagine what you could create from that place…”
My whole life changed that day.
I finally saw how much energy I was putting into becoming an artist. I thought I had to somehow earn the title, that there was some special magic attached to it. I thought I had to be plucked from the crowd, that someone from the outside (who? I have no idea) would say to me, NOW. You are good enough.
What a bunch of crap.
I think the label of “artist” is loaded and has a strange sort of baggage attached to it. People say, “I’m not an artist! I can barely draw a straight line” and I always cringe when I hear this. What’s so interesting about a straight line anyway?
It is not an exclusive club, this artist thing. It’s just a bunch of people who like to play, to make things, to dream up ideas, to color, to sing, to build, to string words together. Don’t we all? I think it helps to remove the labels.
Another part of keeping my confidence up has been learning to honor and trust my own unique way of doing things. I have to make peace over and over again with the fact that I run my business differently than others. I invent it every single day. It is very intuitive for me. I don’t read books about business, I don’t have a business plan, I don’t use spreadsheets and I don’t have a marketing program. To most, this is highly disorganized and BAD. (There is an evil voice in my head that reminds me of this all the time.)
Keri Smith wrote a brilliant list today called “10 ways to Infuse your Work with Your Personality.” #7 talks about the danger of comparing ourselves to others. She writes, “Ignore what other people are doing. The times we feel the most discouraged are usually due to the fact that we are comparing ourselves to others.” So true!
Your dreams are living, growing things. There will be times when you think, “This is never going to work! What the hell am I thinking? Who am I to do this anyway?” And then a few days later you will get a call from someone who wants to hire you to design their CD cover or shoot their wedding or DJ their party and although you are tempted to say, “Me? Are you crazy? You should probably call someone more qualified.” You will instead grin, nod your head graciously and say, “Great. I would be happy to do that.”
Living your dream doesn’t mean you are always confident. It just means that you keep going…
What are your creative dreams?