Do you suffer from fear, anxiety, and self-doubt as an artist? There are tons of emotions that stop our progress as artists every day. One of the only ways to deal with these emotions is to confront them. For some people, it is a lifelong journey to understand and deal with their fears. And there are others who would prefer to ignore them. However, as an artist, especially if you plan on taking it to the next level (becoming a professional) it is essential to define your fears and overcome them.
If you’re able to have an honest sit down with yourself and define why you feel anxious or doubtful, then you are already growing as a person. It’s not enough to admit that you’re afraid – you must acknowledge those fears and then figure out how you’re going to face them. When I started painting full time, one of the first issues I came up against was worry. If I didn’t realize that I was constantly relying on that weakness as a crutch, then I would have eventually failed. By admitting that I was obsessed with worry and by coming up with a strategy to overcome it, I was able to prosper.
Redefining the Fear
Anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing. It is there for a reason and if we didn’t need it, we probably wouldn’t have it. The worst part of worry and doubt is that it repeats itself over and over. The secret is to be able to find a way to shut down that repetitive function. When you have anxiety about something; notice its presence and respond accordingly. Write down what you are worried about and what’s the worst thing that could happen to you because of this fear. Many times you will realize after this exercise that the fear is not rational. If there is nothing else you can proactively do to ease the fear, then stop worrying about it. You already know the worst case scenario and by acknowledging and accepting it, you can make art in peace.
When you realize what is standing in your way and you’re able to overcome, your art will reflect that personal growth. If you’re critical of your own work and can’t seem to ever finish a project because you think it’s not good enough; then, it’s time to face that issue and move on. Are you afraid of rejection? Many great artists were rejected throughout history. When you finally succeed, you can look back and laugh. So figure out what’s causing your worry and what’s the worst thing that could happen because of it. Then move on and keep working. Your art will look better because you love making art, not because you’re forcing some unrealistic idea of perfection into your art.
Here’s one thing to keep in mind: the more you face your fear and overcome anxiety, the greater your professional potential. People like to talk to and work with artist who are confident. It’s nice to be humble about what you’ve created, but if you don’t think that your art is great, then why would anyone else? If you feel doubtful about it, then you won’t be able to sell it to anyone. Take pride in what you’re doing and above all do what feels right. People will be able to feel the emotion that you put into your artwork.
Less Worrying and More Doing
Now that you’ve learned an easy trick to overcome your artistic apprehensions, go on and make some art. People use worry as an excuse not to make art. If you doubt yourself, or can’t stand that aching feeling in your gut, you’ll feel like quitting and watching TV instead. Don’t do it! Even failure is a great learning opportunity. You will never get better by giving up.
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