Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Quick and Dirty Guide: Having Confidence in Your Art

Gain Artistic Confidence
When someone is first starting out at anything - creative or not -  they're most likely producing work that falls very short of amazing. A bit of self doubt can be very beneficial for getting better when you're first starting out, but once you've gain a bit of skill, self doubt can really kill creativity

 An artist with a true desire to be great at the medium they chose is not going to come out of the gate believing that they're the best at that subject. They know that they don't have a lot of experience in the medium, they haven't had a lot of exposure to artists in their arena that are better, and they probably haven't invested in quality tools for their medium.

Fortunately they will keep trying.

Exposure and Education
It can be very hard to know as an artist if what you're producing is actually 'good enough' because art, writing and music are among those things that are ultimately subjective and anyone with the ability to experience the art can deem it trash or treasure. Taking time to learn as much as possible, soak up the advice of others in their field, and developing a skill set are things that a person who wants to achieve greatness will do.

Practicing everyday can only do so much without the ability to determine what is good. Being able to do so can negate a large portion of self doubt, which makes it extremely important for a creative person to educate themselves and develop taste.

In essence, self doubt is a type of worry. When you make a commitment to continually upping your education and exposure it increases your self confidence and eliminates a large portion of worrying over if something is 'good'. You've basically trained yourself to be able to recognize that. Take an art history class, check out the work of other artists and work on your craft.

Reach Out
There's a reason that almost every industry encourages finding a mentor: they're the one person in the artists' life who will give you constructive and honest feed back on your work. It's unfortunate that apprenticeship programs are not as prevalent as they once were, but a mentor can still easily be found on the internet as well as in the community you live in. Connecting with others through Social Media, Reddit and local art centers is the best way to find someone who's work you admire.

Posting your art on Instagram and on your own Facebook can give you a short term confidence boost, but be aware that the people you connect with in those arenas are not likely to give you any kind of constructive criticism - they're you're fans!

Be Aware of Your Internal Monologue
When an artists begins to have those flip flop days, the days where they begin a piece thinking 'oh this is amazing, this is my best work yet' and then end with 'I am crap, this is crap, why would I ever do this?!' - then it's time to start focusing on positive self talk.

(Though really, everyone should focus on positive self talk. )

The first step is recognizing how you are speaking to yourself. Thoughts like 'I'm not good enough' and 'I should give this up' are not things that you would say to a friend in your same position, so don't say it to yourself. The most helpful piece of advice that I read recently said to name this 'other' negative voice in your head as someone apart from yourself and then tell them to STFU whenever that voice gets too loud.

Sounds pretty friggen crazy, I know, but it works. Continually catching yourself in the act of negative self-talk and then replacing those thoughts with positive ones is stupid helpful in cutting out artistic doubts. Instead of 'I'm not good enough' try 'I am not where I'd like to be, but I'm getting better'.

Let me know in the comments if there's anything that you particularly struggle with or if you have any tips to share for increasing confidence!

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