Trust. It’s a pretty big topic, and honestly one that seems to have gotten fairly “woo-woo” recently. I blame The Secret. But let’s not throw out the baby with the Magical Thinking bathwater, because trust is a critical part of being an artist.
I want to tackle a myth today. A really pervasive one that I think locks a lot of artists into justifying unhealthy behavior. The myth of the tortured artist. The belief that you have to suffer for your art. That you have to be a martyr to make good work. That art is only good if it comes from pain. I think we’ve got it backwards. The cart is before the horse, and it’s holding a lot of artists back from embracing (and enjoying) their creativity.
You want to know why you don’t get things done? Behind the procrastination, the laziness, the insecurity…you know what the root of it all leads to? Fear. But you’re thinking about it all wrong. Fear is not your enemy. Fear is a healthy response. Fear keeps you cautious. Fear makes you careful. People think you have to be fearless to be creative, to make art, but that’s not true.
How many of us like to tell people we’re perfectionists? Well don’t fool yourself: Perfectionism is holding you back. Perfectionism is the fear that what you are, or what you have made, is not good enough, not worthy enough, to be let loose into the world. And we have to stop bragging about it.
All artists, no matter how good they are, have to deal with jealousy and envy. You will see a peer do something you wish you could, and you will feel a pang of loss deep in your gut. That’s normal. Let me be straight with you: no artist I have ever met — no person really, forget just artists — have been able to stop that first gut reaction. But, what we can do is stop it from obsessing us.