In my opinion, artists (this encompasses all the arts), walk hand-in-hand with Self-doubt, Self-critic and Ego. They’re numbers one, two, and three on your friends list and they NEVER go away.
Artists, in truth, are solitary creatures. The writer/poet who spends much of their time with a computer or notebook. The artist that works hours on end with brush, hands, camera, etc. The dancer who works alone incessantly in the studio. The actor who studies and memorizes their lines behind closed doors. The composer/musician with just an instrument and paper. The designer that works solo at drafting table, cutting table, the darkened theatre, a computer. Some may have a team, or troupe, or ensemble, or critique group, but the bottom line is, those of us who strive to express ourselves through artistry, are ultimately alone with our craft.
With the exception of our three friends.
Or, the nasty Self-critic. It tells you you’re not good enough. It tells you your story/poem, song painting, design, performance, etc. sucks! It tells you you’ll never realize your dream.
I’m good enough, there’s no way they won’t like my (fill in the blank). This (fill in the blank) is awesome! It’ll become the next greatest (fill in the blank).
Pride goeth before the fall. You get bad reviews, or your work doesn’t sell, your performance was flat, or others in your craft are disparaging and you get sucked down into a black pit of despair at which time Self-doubt and Self-critic become your BFFs.
Or, Ego can be your savior:
Someone liked my (fill in the blank)! If I reach, touch, inspire, entertain someone, even one person with my (fill in the blank), it’s all worth it. I think this (fill in the blank) is awesome, I hope others will too.
Not setting yourself up for the fall, you get mixed reviews, or your work doesn’t sell as well as expected, but does sell, your performance mediocre, but acceptable, or others in your craft are disparaging, but not harsh, and you don’t let it get you down even though Self-doubt and Self-critic are still on your friends list.
I’m on top of the world! Take that nay sayers, I did it! Yippee!! My (fill in the blank) is awesome! My (fill in the blank) rocked! OMG, I hope this lasts. What (fill in the blank) do I do next? Can I top that? Can I at least maintain my artistry?
Feeling good and still on your feet. You get rave reviews, your work sells, you get standing ovations, you’re written up in articles, etc., others in your craft are encouraging/supportive/disparaging depending on their own egos, and YES, Self-doubt and Self-critic are still your friends.
For me, I’ve gone through all of it. Most of the time privately, because that’s the way I am. However, I can only go so long before it boils over or oozes out. I have a voice that smacks my friend Ego every time it gets out of hand, but that’s another topic. I’m not sure it’s a good or bad thing, because that same voice doesn’t throw down with Self-doubt and Self-critic and maybe it should. I’ve been sharing company with the two of them a little too much lately.
How about you? Do you have ways of reigning in these things or do you let them run rampant? Are these miscreants on your friends list?