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.
In an open-concept office, in front of 50 colleagues, I burst into tears.
“I’m sorry, Trupti, I just couldn’t…” I was blubbering so hard I couldn’t even finish my sentence.
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 …
I’d wanted to write about the most important creativity lesson I learned this year, and I’d thought it was “Quit your whining and get on with it,” but my apparent inability to write that post indicated I was perhaps wrong about that.
Tina Bridgman knows how to make art when it looks impossible: she plays guitar with one hand. Here are her tips for squashing doubt to make beautiful stuff. Photo: Courtesy of Tina Bridgman.
“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
Near the end of her time as an art student in the United Kingdom, Ania Witwitzka had an emotional collapse that sent her to back the deep woods of her native Sweden to reevaluate her life. It was the culmination of a creative struggle that began when she was 10, painting wooden jewellery at an after-school centre. Featured image: Painting by Ania Witwitzka.