Most people who opt for the creative path are drawn by the pleasure of creating art, the fulfillment of creative expression. They’re seeking the excitement and thrill of creating work that comes from their heart or speaks from their soul. Since the financial aspects of creating art are notoriously unreliable, it’s the joy to be found in the creative process that inspires many artists to spend their precious time on the creation of new work.
But what about when it stops being fun?
What about the darker side of creativity: The self-doubts and confidence crises. The tension and uncertainty of the middle stages, when you’ve actually created more questions than answers. The slump, when the gloss of the shiny new idea has faded, and you’re ploughing through the less glamourous work of uninspired yet essential tasks, the mundane reality of creative output. How can you maintain the steadfast resolve that’s so essential in finishing a project?
Any creative journey will be a roller-coaster ride – and would it be as satisfying if it was facile and unchallenging? But if you can anticipate the lows before they appear, there are steps you can take to prepare for them. They may still cause the inevitable wobbles, but they’ll be less likely to throw you off track or stall your project completely.
One time-honoured way to arm yourself against the ‘dips’ is to have some sort of support network – whether by way of some structured creativity coaching, or by surrounding yourself with like-minded and inspiring individuals.
Many of the world’s greatest artists and achievers were blessed with mentors, patrons or champions of their work. Just a single person who believes in what you’re doing can make that crucial difference when you begin to doubt. But if you’ve yet to be adopted by a brilliant mentor, it’s still possible to find or create similar support via a network of encouraging friends or peers. You can go to events where the energy and message will inspire you to stick to your creative guns. You can immerse yourself in the books, blogs, videos and podcasts of people who are creating great work in the world, enjoying the success or acclaim that you aspire to. With the leveling effects of the internet, you can easily connect with people and communities who believe in what you’re trying to achieve.
Surrounding yourself with like-minded achievers will help you to see what’s possible, which will refuel your creative dreams and restore your confidence. But there’s another bonus in mixing in these circles of success and achievement – you also get to tap into their experience. You can benefit from their hard-won lessons, so you don’t need to make the same mistakes. You can save yourself time and heartache by learning from others who have gone where you want to go.
So, the next time self-doubt threatens to derail your creative project, seek out the groups, books or personalities that uplift and inspire you. Even better, take steps before the lows take hold by building a supportive and encouraging network of people, influences that will boost your creative confidence and build a strong foundation of courage and self-esteem.
There’s a theory in success circles that you are the sum of the people you spend your time with. In this virtual age, it’s easier than ever to access and surround yourself with the right people – the ones who can guide you and support you in living your creative dreams.