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Block | More Doubt (Artist's Doubt)

Behind the banshee's scream, behind every block, even procrastination can often be found a cause so well disguised you might not know it exists.

Like Pride, Artists Doubt is often root of all sin - against ourselves that is. It is simply flat out a single, pervasive, belief whispered in the back of our skull.

I can't do this.

Whatever it is we seek to make, a drawing, a game, a painting, a new film. Somewhere in the back of our mind we feel any modicum of prior success was a fluke. Soon people will find out you don't know anything. Soon people will laugh at your work. It will be torn apart on twitter, message boards, and Facebook. Indeed I imagine this fear is so much worse in the days of the internet. If you fail, there is a good chance you fail publicly.

When the time was closing in on this website, and all I had left to do was write the new content, that was when my doubt truly gripped onto me. Who am I to say anything about writing? Sure I've helped others. And yes being a professional is a mind-set not a publishing contract. But really who am I?

Who am I to contribute to this world?

Bear with me, I'm going to sound like I'm going on a tangent.

I read so many articles crying about how people these days seem to feel entitled and the root is all this self esteem, "you are special, you can do anything" talk in schools. How it was the worst thing to do to society and now the sky is falling because people feel the world owes them a dream job.

What utter crap.

It really makes me wonder about the authors and if they once held expectations that they should be president by now. Because most people went through this same system with a sense of reality intact. Meet someone pushy and entitled in the grocery store and the problem is usually money and/or a present lifestyle. Do teenagers seem entitled? Yeah, some of them, not most. Just as they always have.

In a new interconnected world we are assaulted with all the ways the world is going to hell but it isn't any faster or worse than it's always been. We just know about it now. Yes the environment is getting thrashed and we are losing species, and half the coral reefs are gone and climate change is here to stay. But while that seems to be going like a light switch we have actual be building up to it a long time.

Kids are still kids, prats are still prats, the environment is still under attack, we are still threatened by nuclear fallout that isn't guaranteed but is certainly feared reasonably. We are still the same, insecure, fragile species. We just know more. And have greater access to that knowledge

And what have we done with our evolution in education? Argue about celebrities on twitter; whether JK Rowling should have put Hermione with Harry, not Ron; why Twilight was insipid or inspired. And why not? We were doing the same thing among friends before, now we do it with strangers. Fighting about drunk driving and Justin Bieber doesn't mean the world cares any more or less about what's important. It just means people, as they always have, argue about stupid shit.

Now to tie this back in.

Bottom line. Things haven't changed much. In this modern world we have the same doubt, the same fear, artists have had since they became self aware. All of us feel it. We tell ourselves it is worse now. Now the web will know our shame. We are intimidated by the electronic trail we leave. But it's an excuse for letting anxiety dominate our actions. A good one. One that can be hard to resist. But one that can be overcome.

How?

Honestly? By pleasing ourselves. Or I should really put, placating our inner critic. You see all this "people should care more about what people think, it's wrong to focus on your own goals" is from attaching a good idea to a bad idea because it is assumed they are connected.

So lets tear this apart shall we?

Yes we should be polite. We should show manners and graciousness. And it's important to be kind and compassionate. But you can do ALL these things and still focus on your OWN goals. You can be a nice person and not really give a toss what someone thinks of what you do. Being nice and being self motivated are not mutually exclusive.

People please stop getting your philosophy from muppets, infographics and Ted talks.

So how does this play out? Create work that you would be proud of. Be humble in your presentation perhaps. Know that not everyone will receive it the way you would. But craft something beautiful in your own eyes as you silence that inner critic. Because there is a good chance that voice of doubt in your head is just the internalization of all the garbage people say on a regular basis at louder and louder volumes.

Bugger that.

So one day someone may look at my website and think "who does she think she is?" I've already got my answer. I'm a life-long writer who knows what goes into the creative life and a good book. I've worked hard on the design for this website and I've had good feedback. You can't squash me into believing I don't have skills and experience to share. Why are you trying? Does my website make you feel insecure? What does it matter to you?

This is the kind of conversation you need to have with your imaginary detractors. Who are you to create?

An artist, that's who.

Now go get em!


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