I was inspired by this message by Leslie Riley and thought those who stop by here might enjoy it too:
Let's talk about the others. I've always had a love hate relationship with them. There was a time when I stalked newsstands, waiting anxiously for the next issue to hit the shelves. I'd buy them all, devouring the eye candy and inspiration. I lived for those magazines. But then, slowly, it would creep in. You know what I'm talking about - the doubt, the disappointment, maybe even a hint of depression. "I'm not good enough." "Everyone else is so talented." "How come my work never looks that good?" Instead of being inspired to go make something, I felt like giving up. And that was after I had been published in those very same magazines!
Now it's blogs and even Facebook. The others are there, too, happily showing off all they have accomplished this week, today, or even in the last 5 minutes. Not only are they doing the artwork, but they have time to connect with everyone else and post their latest in charming and witty prose. Here I am busting my #@s to keep up with everything I have to do day in and day out. I'm lucky if I have time for a quick glance on FB. I haven't read a blog or posted to my own in a while and... hmmm, I finally sent off the latest art collaborative piece - 2 months after receiving it!
Do I sound envious, jealous? Yes, but more than anything I'm upset with myself for being such a slacker. Yep, even "successful" artists are plagued by the same doubts and insecurities you are.
I started writing this article on my way to the (wonderful) Creative Connection Event. Imagine how shocked (and relieved) I felt to hear that one of the very same women I admire (and envy), Melody Ross, founder ofThe Brave Girls Club, feels exactly the same way. She was on the Women Entrepreneurs breakfast panel Saturday morning. Melody shared this very same thought with us, "Why can't I do all that?" She said she was busy watching what everyone else was doing and paying more attention to her page Likes and blog comments than to her family. Once Melody realized that she could be, and should be, in control of how she felt, she decided to go cold-turkey - no Facebook for 90 days. She discovered that the Likes that she had been so closely monitoring were now coming from her heart. She began to Like her life again.
Years ago, when I recognized that I was comparing myself to the others rather than getting busy doing the work, I went cold-turkey on the magazines. I stopped subscribing to and buying them. It was easy for me to give up reading all but the occasional blog because, well, I never had time in the first place. I like to remain connected and see what my friends and fellow artists are up to so you'll still find me on Facebook, but only in 5 minute nuggets of time. No dwelling in other-land. The minute, the very second, I begin to feel my mood and confidence sink - OFF I go. I've got better things to do.
What I have come to realize is that we feel bad and down on ourselves when we are sitting on the sidelines and not doing the things we want to do, the things we love. When we're on the outside looking in, it's not the otherswe're upset with, it's ourselves. We are letting ourselves down, disappointing our best self, the one that wants to be doing fabulous things.
One solution is to distance yourself from the things or people that make you feel bad, but it's way better to join them in the fun. Not so you can get online and share everything you are doing. You can do that, too, but the important thing is this - DOING will stop you from letting the others make you feel bad. Don't be on the sidelines - play in the game!
3 Ways to Get in the Game:
1. Find out exactly what is keeping you from doing what you love. Dwelling on what the others are doing is really a form of resistance, avoidance and procrastination. If you can pinpoint the reason(s) why you are not in the studio creating, then you can take the necessary actions to overcome them.
2. Just START. You don't need a plan. Action breeds action which breeds art. Throw paint on a background. Stitch random patterns on some fabric. Grab a photo and write a story around it. The secret is to just begin.
3. Know your limits and set aside a specific time to gather inspiration. Looking at other art is fun and inspiring up to a point. Use the magazines, blogs and Facebook like the tools that they are, not the crutches that they have become.
Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the creative founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit www.ArtistSuccess.com.