Dealing with self-doubt
151st Blog post – Opening my eyes and coping with self-doubt.
I have been writing these blog posts since 2018 and whilst I hope the content and writing have both improved over this time, I have always written with the reader in mind. My aim has always been to inform other artists about new trends, new art products, how to use some of those products, how to paint, print, make journals and how to keep on top of the huge headache that is the business side of things.
Writing every week does become difficult and from time to time I will look at other artists for inspiration. Just as we look at each other’s artwork for inspiration looking at what others are writing about is worthwhile for me too. Being in the middle of trying to get our new house into a comfortable livable condition also stretches me as I haven’t produced any artwork myself for weeks now, so I don’t have very much to draw on there.
Also, I have pulled away from links with a group containing a number of artists I was able to draw inspiration from as they are either new to art or not very confident, so they asked lots of questions which I was able to answer for them in my blog. Sadly, the group is being run by the egos involved for their own benefit rather than for the group’s. I have quietly battled for nearly three years to get basic best practice and legal requirements met and not succeeded. I am therefore no longer comfortable with putting my reputation on the line (I used to be an accountant) and trying to deal with the lack of honesty and the manipulation I see happening all too often. So, my tank is pretty empty in terms of subjects to draw on.
Good old Google was put to use (other search engines are available, of course) and I discovered this site: https://blog.feedspot.com/uk_art_blogs/ which I hope to draw inspiration from.
Having scrolled down through the company blogs I started looking at the artists’ blogs. Here I wondered if I am doing it all wrong. I checked six or seven sites to read other artists blogs and whilst the Google blurb advertises them in ranked order at the top 70 blogs, many of them don’t actually have blogs! Some have podcasts but those who do have blogs just write about their artwork, exhibitions they are taking part in, and it was all about them.
By the way, I am currently ranked 32 on this list, and I haven’t looked at people further down the list as I assumed that those ahead of me would be considered better than me. Was that a fair assumption?
So, am I doing it wrong? Should my weekly blogs be all about me and my artwork? How wonderful I am as an artist? Is it this kind of self-promotion which gains traction for these artists and increases their visibility and credibility? I kind of hope not.
I don’t have the answer to these questions, but it does remind me that I should not be comparing myself to other people, whether that be about my blog or my artwork and neither should you. Also, whilst being part of a group/club/league can provide inspiration and support, whether you realise it or not, being part of something which makes you unhappy is simply not healthy or worth it.
All this is a very long-winded way of me telling you that we all suffer from self-doubt and that doubt comes in all forms, be it with your art or in your life. The two are very connected. I know this week’s blog is along similar lines to one I wrote a couple of weeks back, but self-doubt is something which keeps popping its head above the parapet at the moment for me and for some other artists I have been talking to recently, as well. And covid hasn’t helped!
The voices and doubts we feel are real and for some people so real as to take over their world to the point that they literally cannot function. I have known many people who have really struggled with those thoughts and feelings and some amazing artists I know have simply walked away from creating art because it is too unsettling for them.
We have to find a way to park those feelings. Ignoring them is not the best option but parking them whilst you concentrate on achieving your goal and then revisiting those doubts later is a far healthier and much more constructive way to be able to move forward with your art and in your daily life.
If you are in the pit of despair yourself right now, may I suggest a couple of things to try which might help you? Write (or type if you must) a list of the things which are bothering you. Physically writing with pen on paper will connect you more with how you are feeling but I know some of you still prefer to use a keyboard.
Once you have your list of bothers, be that large or small, put them in order of what is troubling you. The biggest problem on your list is not the one to tackle first. Look at the smaller niggles which you can fix, whether that be in your head or a practical fix. You are not ignoring the things which are troubling you most, you have recognised them, given them an order of difficulty and you have put the biggest one in first place.
By tackling the smaller easy fixes, you are freeing up brain space but, more importantly, you will be giving yourself a much-needed pat on the back. You can do it, you can solve these problems, you are not useless, untalented, an idiot or whichever negative label you have given to yourself. You are solving problems, boosting your confidence, and getting this done. By the time you have worked your way to the top of the list to deal with that biggest problem, you will probably find it has solved itself.
I have had my eyes opened by my research and I may write the occasional piece all about me, my work and be unashamedly self-promotional but I feel my true role is to support other artists and encourage them to be the best version of themselves so in the main, I will continue to write blog posts which help you, the reader.
If you have enjoyed reading this post, please like and follow me and please share it with people who you think might be interested. I am always on the lookout for new artists to feature as I know how much everyone enjoys reading about other artists. Also, if you think there is a subject you would like to know more about and would like me to write about, I will be happy to consider it. Sharing, liking, and following my blogs increases the number of people the algorithm shows the blogs to, so please share. Thank you in advance for supporting me this way.