Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Every Artist was first an amateur.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self Doubt by Nathan Florence

This quote seems so obvious and simple, but it truly is not.  When one is contemplating showing ones work and taking the first steps to share ones inner most feeling and self expression with the world the doubts can be so great they can be crippling for some.  Being an arts teacher nurtured the seeds of creativity in young people.  It is like seeing a spark in a fire, fanning the spark and tending it until the fire lights.  But humans are not so simple, they are full of doubt, insecurity and indecision.  Our inner critic will sabotage our every effort.  The list of things we can say to our selves is endless and the methods we can enlist to rationalize why we cannot succeed is also non ending. We are even adept at allowing ourselves to succeed to a certain point and then find a way to fail so we can bow to our inner critic and say"you were right I was no good all along, I was found out!".  All artist think they are unique to themselves, that all of this doubt, criticism and self sabotage is our struggle alone, but unfortunately we are not that special, it is common across the board with all arts.  The singer Barbara Streisand is paralyzed with fear to the point she cannot perform and yet she is one of our most talented singers ever.  The writer who looks at a blank page and cannot write after many best sellers.  The actor who freezes and can't remember their lines.  Taking the next step and the next step that brings us success is like walking a tightrope with every move a balance.  Reading Juliette Cameron's "The Artist Way" or the War of Art are good choices that offer understanding in how to fight this inner critic and our self doubt.  I have to thank one of our favorite artists at Rabbit Moon Studio, Nathan Mark Phillips for his recommendation of the War of Art.  It is a gem of a book, a small diamond of truth facing and as Mark says "a kick in the butt".
from google image for education only
 It makes us face up to our rationalizations and self sabotage for what they are and ask us to quit indulging in such self pity and wallowing in our own self flagellation.  But to get to the business of work and getting the work done.  And the process is not easy, in a way, it is like inner therapy and coming to terms with oneself.  But each step taken and with hard work and courage, then the success is enormous.  I have watched Mark go through this and it is amazing and it works, for he has evolved like the small spark of fire, that has been nurtured and fanned to a full fire, but Mark was the nurturer, he faced his inner demons and slew them.  And now he is his own hero and we can be our own as well, but we must do the work-go into the studio everyday and do something until we do the work we have always wanted.  If you are guilty of self doubt, and I do not know any artist that is not, and if you sabotage yourself from succeeding then look up these two books, seek out a mentor, and start the process of facing your own fears and inner critic until the inner voices subside and the work becomes your voice.  I wish you good creating my friends, I truly do.  For I too face these doubts, self sabotage and inner critics.
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