Monday, October 17, 2016

Thoughts on becoming a creative

My journey of being more intentional about pursuing a creative lifestyle started about two years ago. Instagram became this creative outlet from the stresses of life and slowly evolved into a project of learning photography. Soon
after, this blog came together as a place for me to write and share other areas of creative inspiration, whether that be clothing, food, flowers, travel, or books. In the process, I have found that I am often met with fear and self-doubt. I compare myself to others, thinking that they must have been born with all that talent. Sometimes I scroll through past blog posts or my Instagram feed and feel embarrassment or shame for having thought it was good enough to share.

I know that deep down inside, I'm still learning and growing, and trying to become an artist. I realize that even if some people appear to be a natural, they all had to start somewhere and they all had to learn and work to perfect their style of art. Even great artists, like Van Gogh, have had to dedicate lots of time learning the skills that would lead to their personal and unique artwork. In fact, it really wasn't until after Van Gogh had passed away that his artwork really began to sell–not that I'm comparing myself to Van Gogh!

A few months ago I read through the book Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, and I love how one of the first statements the authors make is, "Making art now means working in the face of uncertainty; it means living with doubt and contradiction, doing something no one much cares whether you do, and for which there may be neither audience nor reward" (p.2.). Sometimes we just have to create, because we enjoy it, even if no one appreciates it.  This means that there will be doubt and self-criticism, but it's all apart of the journey in developing into who you are as an artist. "In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your voice distinctive" (p.3). 

I find this to be difficult at times, especially when I fall into the self-loathing trap of comparing myself to the talent of others. I get distracted and at times I've tried to imitate the style of others, which I think is sometimes okay, especially when learning specific techniques, but this shouldn't be our ticket into "the spotlight". Observe, practice, and learn the techniques that you admire, but then remember to focus on developing your own sense of style, your "own voice". The amount of time it takes to develop your own voice will naturally vary for each person.  I'm still very much in the beginning of distinguishing which voice is mind in the midst of all the other voices (distractions and comparisons) that all seem to be calling out to me. 

Further, I am prone to having fears of failure. Perhaps I feel like I'll fail myself and that all this time will be for nothing. But oftentimes I do fear what others will think of me. Sometimes when I've done something that has been noticeably appreciated, I fear I'll never be able to produce anything better than that. The authors explain how our "fears about artmaking fall into two families: fears about yourself, and fears about your reception by others. In a general way, fears about yourself prevent you from doing your best work, while fears about your reception by others prevent you from doing your own work" (p.23).

I know everyone says that practice makes perfect or that mistakes are a part of the process, and that we learn through failure. But it can be so hard to accept the truth of those statements, especially when we feel as though we're somehow running out of time to discover whether indeed we feel good enough to call ourselves an artist or a success. However, "you make good work by (among other things) making lots of work that isn't very good, and gradually weeding out the parts that aren't good, the parts that aren't yours" (p.26). Perseverance is necessary in this journey. Perseverance requires mistakes, failures, trial and error, and figuring out your voice. So here's to the journey of figuring out your voice.


  1. I get this, I just get this.

    But PS:: you have one of the loveliest IG feed + blog that I know of, sweet girl. You truly ARE talented and gifted and share such beauty.

    1. Thank you so much. You are always so wonderful at being encouraging. I've loved following your instagram feed and blog. You always share truth and it's so uplifting to read.