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Fear is our biggest enemy. It’s not the person who bullied you in school, not your boss, or any other person in your life. It is that voice that calls you to stop and prevents you from moving forwards.
Many people give up their dreams because they fear. Artists may experience it in a form of creative fear. We get comments like “it’s not a real job”, “it’s just a hobby, there’s no future in art”, and more. We fear that there’s no place for someone who is just an “amateur” and compares ourselves to other artists.
Have you ever seen an engineer comparing himself to another engineer and decides to give up because the other person is better? No! He keeps going because he knows that it’s all a matter of practice and dedication.
Then why art is so different? Why we give it up so easily?
I don’t have an answer, but I do know that when you want something you have to make it happen. Life is full of doubts and tough decisions. It’s up to us, in every field, to keep moving forwards. To silence the voices of fear and be open to learning. It’s all a matter of fighting this fear, the doubts, and be consistent.
Maybe your work won’t be “good” as the work of your favorite artist, but it will be with time and it will be YOUR work.
Here are some of the common creative fears and how to overcome them:
Failure is part of life. No one love to fail but it happens. Sometimes we don’t get the grade we wanted, sometimes it’s a job interview or a college that we really wanted. It’s not the end of the world, accept that and grow from it.
Also, remember that failure is subjective. For one person getting a “B” on a class is a failure while it is an amazing grade for someone who usually gets “D”. Don’t judge yourself too hard, learn from your mistakes, and don’t forget to learn what went good as well.
It easier to focus on the bad, but we have to acknowledge our successes as well. Before each piece, I try to think about what I want to focus this time. What I like to improve and what I already love. Learning is part of our growths and mistakes, failures come with it.
What can you do?
- Accept the failure
- Learn from your mistakes
- Acknowledge the successes
- Keep going, maybe the next time will be what you expected or maybe even more.
2. We’re afraid of being vulnerable:
Being an artist is putting your soul on there and let everyone judge it. Sounds pretty scary but let’s think of it from a different angle. Ted talks- what makes people connect to the speaker? The more genuine they are, the more we relate. People who inspire us usually will tell us something personal about them. Art is the same. We don’t use our words, but great artist tells a story only from looking at their work. Being vulnerable isn’t a bad thing, it can bring you closer to people and improve your art.
You may also enjoy reading:
8 Simple Ways to Overcome your Artistic Block
How to Become an Artist On the Way
3. “I’m not good as…” :
Maybe the most popular creative fear.
Over the years I had many doubts about my art, my “talent”, and my capabilities. I used to compare myself to others, give up on creating because of fear. I’m still fighting with some of them every time I publish a piece- Will people love it? Am I good enough? Am I professional enough? And more. But even though my fears, I push forwards. I create my art and appreciate the process I make each day.
What can you do?
- Appreciate other’s work instead of comparing. Maybe you can learn from this artist instead of getting frustrated.
- Appreciate your work, and YOUR journey. Every artist has a different journey. You have no idea how others reached where they are- focus on where you were, where you are, and where you want to be.
4. You can’t make a living from being an artist:
One of the main reasons for young artists to give up. Remember the sentences I wrote in the beginning about how art isn’t a “real” job? That fits this category. You CAN have a successful are career if you give 100 percent. I’m not going to write more about it because my introduction was mainly about this part.
What can you do?
- You have to think about what you want- keep it as a hobby? Make a side money? part time? full- time? It’s up to you!
- Execute your dream. Learn about selling art, prints-on-demand, marketing, business, and more.
Think about it this way- so many people earn money from blogging, being influencers, personal coaches and more, so why not earning from selling art? If you set your mind on it- you already 80% of the way to success.
“Art is a high calling- fears are coincidental. Coincidental, sneaky and disruptive, we might add, disguising themselves variously as laziness, resistance to deadlines, irritation with materials or surroundings, distraction over the achievements of other- indeed as anything that keeps you from giving your work your best shot. What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue, those who don’t, quit. Each step in the art making process puts that issue to the best.”- Art & Fear
In some way, fear tells us what we need to do. Our creative fear comes from a place of believing in what we’re doing, we’re scared because we care about it. Giving up to the your creative fear means giving up on what we love.