Two incredibly creative and wonderful women inspired me in unexpected ways last week. First, I loved Stephanie Howell’s post about who she is as a scrapbooker, and why she’s ok with that. Then Ali Edwards sent out a creative lift for the week via email that was all about, well, creative insecurity. Which actually hit on point with some stuff I’ve been up to and thinking about, eerily so actually.
I let them both know that I loved what they shared, and shared a bit of myself with them as well. Which then got me thinking about somehow blogging about this creative insecurity and self confidence stuff and all that… and here we are.
First I want to address something: Creative jealousy and insecurity.
It happens to the best of us. When it does, it can be pretty ugly. Here are my thoughts.
I’m really freaking good at being me. I stink at being anyone else, so I’m not even going to try. When I create anything from a project to share in a class to something just for fun to a commissioned project, I have one rule: enjoy the process.
I think about what *I* want to do, what *I* think is fun and cool and what direction I feel like going in and I cut loose.
Why? Well, when I’m over thinking things or worrying about what ___ will think or if it’ll be as good as ___’s work… whatever I make is crap. I figured it out a few years back when I was trying SO VERY HARD – that it was in fact the trying hard that was messing me up. I was thinking so much that I left no spontaneity, no creative spark, no room for imagination or play.
Please don’t misunderstand- I make some spectacularly UGLY pieces too! I make mistakes, and I have to work long and hard hours in my studio. I’ve spent thousands of hours over the last decade in this very room that I’m typing in now. Crafting is a skill, the more time you put in the more fun it can get.
The thing is, I don’t fear the ugly. I embrace it. Shrug it off. Learn from it. Start over. Go another direction. I also embrace the fear of looking like a fool. Have you met me? I am just me. A book loving, silly, picky, pain in the ass woman with very specific ideas on what I want. Oh sometimes those ideas change but the point is I’ve got opinions. Vision. And dare I say it… confidence.
So what do I do when I get smacked with the jealousy stick? Whacked with insecurity? Oh, it happens. In fact it happened very recently when I saw a project that was SO AMAZING I questioned my whole existence and reason for crafting for a few minutes until I decided to track down the creator and gush on her awesomeness. Thing is? The other person or people are so not out to get you or make you feel bad about yourself!! So you can’t let that get you. When it hits, I’ve got two things to do, and I’m going to share them both with you now.
1. I try to break down the roots and figure out what is bothering me. Do I wish I did more mixed media work? Am I in a layout rut? Have I not put energy into new ideas? Or am I feeling bad about me for no good reason, and the truth is just I really like what this other person is doing? I break it down as best as I can and dismiss it or take it as a lesson to be learned. Then I get into my studio asap and create something. Play. Be True. Real. Take the energy and make something positive with it. Find a way to let those feelings help me grow creatively.
2. I tell the person I’m envious of that I think they rock. That what they’re doing is amazing and how talented they are. To be honest I do this jealousy or not – I am a huge believer in being uplifting to those who share creatively. Saying to people “I like what you do. Here is why.” It is something that I do often. Sending encouragement and uplifting thoughts to someone else, NOT focusing on poor me… well that does indeed help.
In my experience the happiest people I know are those who allow happiness in and who want to see others happy as well. Who don’t feed and let fester the negative that we all have. It’s not all sunshine and roses here- but I don’t have to fuel negative fires either. I can focus on the good, my gifts, my blessings. I can also follow my heart and do my best to be one of the happy people vs one of those negative people who always want to be down about something – and that have an excuse for everything.
That’s today’s piece. Next week I will share about my big dark shameful secret that is the sum of all my failures as a crafter and human… and the chronicles (blog series) that will begin from that revelation…
I wish you happy crafting, and I encourage you to go out and send some happy emails to creative people who inspire you just because.