Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Confession Tuesday - Self-Doubt Means that We Care & other thoughts on creating...
Many of my professor friends are getting ready to return to their teaching jobs. Many of my parent friends are seeing their kids off to school. Yes, no matter how we may try to deny it (or savor it), summer is ending.
In certain ways this can create a downness in each of us.
For me, I realize how much I didn't do this summer. I realize how much time I spent working.
I confess I was on my paddleboard the least amount I can remember than in years past. It makes me long for summer even while summer is going on.
Sometimes that happens. Sometimes life is the thing passing you by without you noticing.
I confess I've been feeling a little down lately. Maybe it's the ending of something. Maybe it's the beginning of something else. Maybe it's regret dressed as ending or just time shaking me up a bit.
Maybe it's because I am in the final proof of my manuscript, Hourglass Museum, and there's a fear and doubt that comes with that.
A friend (who isn't a writer) recently said to me, "I'm not sure why you're nervous, this is your third book? Shouldn't you be over that now?"
My first response was: Yes, I should be over it.
But then I went deeper and realized that if I wasn't nervous, then I'd be sending out something into the world where I took absolutely no risk. I'd be sending out a loaf of Wonderbread without the "wonder."
My self-doubt and nervousness means that I care about what I write.
I care about readers holding my book and connecting. I understand "not my audience," but I care about "my audience," people who expect good work from me, I want to live up to their and my expectations.
I want to create something beautiful. That is what it always comes down to.
I heard someone say--
If you're depressed, you're living too much in the past and if you're anxious, you're living too far in the future.
I confess I've never been good at understanding my own feelings or living in the present, so life can be rough sometimes. I must live in about 5 separate universes because I feel the above as well as hopeful, thankful, and happy, all at the same time.
I'm a nebula of paradoxical emotions.
Though I confess sometimes I love to be in the melancholy of autumn. Sometimes I love to be Elvis Costello's Sulky Girl in leather boots.
I confess I've been cleaning out my bookcase, which really means, I've been moving things around and found an old Julia Cameron book Walking in the World: The Practical Art of Creativity. It's not as good as the Artist Way, I believe, but here are a few things I had underlined in the book--
Making art is quite literally a path to "our Maker."
We have answered yes when our true name was called.
There are no certain routes.
Sometimes I don't know who I am.
But we must stay focused on *what* we are doing, not *how.*
Each slight increment of mastery holds the sweet promise that the days of awkward repetition and frustrating blunders do lead somewhere after all.
Self-pity likes to make us feel the world is an adversarial place and that the odds are stacked against us.
Doubt is the signal of the creative process. It is a signal that you are doing something right--not that you are doing something wrong, crazy, or stupid.
Feel the feelings, but don't act on them. This, too, shall pass.
Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.
Sudden problems in my life usually indicate that I need to work on my art.
All artists get discouraged. All artists have deep inner wells of self-pity into which we periodically dive. All artists are doing better than someone else and worse than someone else. All artists are doing better today than they have done in the past and worse than they will in the future. All artists specialize in self-doubt. It is how we hone the creative imagination.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
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Written by Kelli Russell Agodon