As an artist or wanna-be artist you challenge yourself often, don’t you?
Let me tell you how it is with me. If I’m not growing as an artist, I feel discontent. It’s mostly in my stomach, but in my whole being is restless. . . I find myself working less and less, and slowly I become a “misunderstood artist” rather than a productive one.
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And the truth is, the root of that discontentment is doubt.
Am I good enough?
Is this piece good enough?
Am I too young for this? Am I too old for that?
Do I have time to do that?
Is this the right path for me?
Is there a path at all?”
When I let doubt stay with me, or let it continually lead what I do, it kills me. It turns into depression, sadness and a sense of meaninglessness.
Yet whenever I overcome that doubt, I find myself becoming more creative, and more productive. It’s like a circle: more productivity makes my creative juices flow, more creativity makes me happier, and I love the whole process.
But first I have to overcome that doubt.
In case you’ve ever felt paralyzed by doubt, here are my techniques for getting past it, and getting on with my creativity:
1. I procrastinate doubt.
I simply set it aside. When doubt comes, I tell myself to paint another painting. When I am in doubt, I tell the doubt to come back later. I work to finish my current projects, and in doing so I switch myself into a different mindset – working mode. Flowing mode. More often than not, when I’m in my creative space, the doubt just goes away.
But sometimes the doubt is too big, or too persistent, and it comes back. That’s OK. I have another method for overcoming it.
2. I allow it. . . for a set period of time.
I sit down and let it be. I say, “I am here for you.” I set a time frame. “I have half an hour for you.” I don’t want to stay in doubt for long.
And I empty out.
I write down the words of my doubt just as they are. I write down each and every question, statement, feeling and not knowingness. I let the doubt come to the surface of my consciousness. Sometimes the doubts are accompanied by fear and judgement.
I write and write. . . and a magical moment comes. It always happens. Something changes; something opens up. I see more clearly. I feel wholeness. A fresh new energy fills me.
Sometimes it makes me laugh. Other times I just feel connected again. I can hug the doubts and accept them for what they are.
If you’re like me and you struggle with doubt, I’d encourage you to see what this process can do for you. If you can’t push the doubt aside, then allow it. Embrace it. . . but only for a little while.