Every artist is hit with creative insecurity at one point or another. I'm not talking about the insecurity you feel around people, I'm talking about the insecurity, the self-doubt, the introspection that happens to your artistic flow.
I haven't written a few weeks, and I've been reflecting on why this is. I usually have so much to say and share - new ideas, new projects, rants on all kinds of topics. But I noticed that since late last year, I got into a space where I didnt' know what quite to say, or what to share. I felt lost in fact, but not because I was depressed or anything like that - but because I had so many possibilities and possible pathways ahead of me - and it was intimidating me.
Last year was transformative for me in a multitude of ways - I got my heart broken and got healed up, I went through a intense surgery and gradually went back to normal activity, and I began a transition out of an organization I helped found and grow.
This sense of new directions scared me because the changes were happening nearly all at once. It hit me in late December after my last art show. At that point, I didn't have the business factor to distract me, so I had to just sit with my emotions. I slowly realized that I had a bit of fear. Now that doors had closed, and new ones had opened - I didn't quite know how to move. So I didn't, I just stopped and decided to give myself time to sort through things. My flow came to a standstill - and I didn't write nor create new works. I had a looming deadline, but part of me was dreading to start drawing, wherease sually I can jump right in.
One night, I was reading a blog about a man who started a yoga school after he realized he was unhappy with his corporate job. He talked about the power people have in their minds and about the intense fear people can sometimes have of change. Something resonated with me. I consider myself a confident, successful woman, who isn't afraid to take risks - yet, the fact that I had so many changes coming and going, like rapid water currents - was intimidating the shit out of me. And I did what most people do, I caved into my insecurities and started self-doubting myself, which led to being unproductive, moody, and straight up negative.
I also entered into a space of anxiety. The year was ending for me, and with it comes a series of heavy questions that these so called holidays impose on our psyche - like what we have achieved, where we are headed, what are our goals for the new year. I usually spend my last days in December planning out my milestones for the next year. I make goals - I make some targets for how much money I want to make, how much I want to save, how much art I want to make, the places I want to travel to. But lately I've been noticing, I'm so concentrated on my future that I don't get to enjoy the present.
So I decided not to do goals for 2012. In reality, I know exactly what I want to do. It's quite simple. I have 5 big things that I think about everyday, and I don't need to write them down. In fact, sometimes writing things down binds me to a path that I can't let go of. I think my intense planning has created such a restricted space, to the point where my weeks and months are planned out so much in advance. I don't have spaces for the accidental stuff, or the stuff that just happens with life. The stuff you can't plan for or anticipate.
After some weeks of reflection, I promised myself to be fearless as I move forward. I told myself its ok to fail, and that I have to be affirmative to myself. Otherwise, I stand in my own way. I want to believe in myself, and really push myself to be experimental, to try things without aplan, to do the oppositve of what I've been doing for years (just to see how it feels). So I decided to be more frugal with my money and rather than shoot for large goals, which I do well, how could I make less, so that I can work less. After all, making more money often means taking on more projects. And yes, we all need money to make projects happen, but there is also a cycle that develops. And soon the cycle can dominate ones real desires.
I also decided to be less confined in my art. I have ideas for things that I want to do that I hold back on because it doesn't fit with who people perceive me to be. But making art is one of the ways I have a voice, and so, I want to be authentic to my thoughts, even if I may never be recognized for them, or even if they are incomprehensible.
The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. ~ Dee Hock