The reason why you haven’t written that novel yet, released that song or otherwise given expression to the art inside you – is almost certainly fear. Fear of what people will think of our creative work can play a significant role in our decision to show off our talents. It could be fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of judgement, and for some, even fear of success.
“Most people self-edit, killing potentially creative ideas because we’re afraid that our bosses or peers will see us fail. We stick to ‘safe’ solutions or suggestions. We hang back, allowing others to take risks.” – David & Tom Kelley (Creative Confidence)
There are many reasons why we may give into fear and fail to unlock our potential. Having creative confidence requires you to be strong-willed and means that you must take steps to control your emotions. There are many ways we can trick ourselves into believing that our creative work does not deserve recognition or attention.
- I’m not good enough
Self doubt is probably the number one fear of any creative professional. After all, for the most part, we are not creating necessities but luxuries. As much as our art enriches our life and the lives of others, it remains something that we (at least as consumers) could probably live without.
- I’m not original enough
While it may be true that all the great themes in art and literature have already been done before a thousand times over, it’s always possible to bring something entirely new to the process.
- People won’t take me seriously
The truth is that your career as an artist is only as serious as you take it. Do you work at it as your “job” or do you only work at it occasionally as your “hobby”? How much work do you really put into it daily? If you were your boss, would you pay yourself for the effort that you are currently making? If you are putting effort into your work, it will not go unnoticed.
- My work is never as good as I imagined it would be
No artist is ever completely satisfied with their work. Some pieces you will always like better than others but the pursuit of perfection is only a mirage that keeps you from moving on. We should be creative, not perfect. We should look beyond our own biased perspective of how ‘good’ our work is. We should free ourselves from the belief that others will laugh at our creativity and undermine our efforts.
We should accept the fact that even the greatest authors, composers, musicians, and artists were still unsatisfied with their masterpieces in some way. Perfection is an illusion that will eventually consume you if you let it. Think of each piece that you create as a stepping stone on a much longer journey. You will never get to the next stage of development as an artist unless you are willing to set that piece aside and move on to the next.