A guest post by Celeste Lovick: “When you love someone, you cannot be afraid of them. The most important thing as a performer is not what the audience thinks of you. It is what you feel about your audience.” Photo by Seth Doyle.
If we don’t release anything, no one will see how imperfect we are at the thing we want to accomplish. No one will laugh at us. No one will reject us. We’ll be safe.
Except that we won’t. Photo by Kevin Urbanski.
An artist who believes he’s an artist develops the confidence to do his art. In order to believe he’s an artist, though, he needs to relinquish certain misconceptions. Photo: “Man eat a guitar” by imacture, Adobe Stock.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: often, when I sit down to write, I feel like a squirmy toddler getting stuffed into a car seat.
Heck, I felt that way while starting to write this very post, before I reviewed the list I’ll show you in a minute. I thought, No one’s going to like this. It’s a dumb idea. I should write about something else. I’m just stealing from other, smarter people.
I’ve lost a lot of writing contests lately. Well, I didn’t lose them, exactly, but I definitely didn’t win anything. I’ve gotten a lot of plain old standard-issue rejection letters, too. It’s been a great opportunity to reflect on how my ego slithers into my creative work. Ultimately, the ego causes all my creative blocks, and probably yours too. It’s what tells me I’m a worthless human if people don’t like my writing, which is the thought underlying every other thought that stops me, thoughts like, But I can’t write until I’ve checked my email. It’s what tells me to write what’ll make me look good instead of what’s true. It’s what stops me from sharing what I’ve written. It pulls my attention to the reception of my work, and away from my real reasons for creating: to touch people, to make them laugh, to show them they’re not alone, to take them for awhile off their mental hamster wheels (we’ve all got them), and to give what I can. Still, I’ve made stuff and shared it. Luckily, we don’t have to lose …
Sometimes, doing creative work can feel like stripping in public. Here’s how to cope with the feelings of vulnerability that result.
“I don’t belong here,” I thought as I looked at the people around me in the fusty university basement. The Director of Carleton’s Master of Journalism program rattled off bios of each participant. My colleagues had founded magazines. They’d written for national newspapers. They were professionals. I’d written a few articles for the UBC student paper. That was it. Photo © Josephthomas | Dreamstime.com