On June 7, 2014, Laurel Regan, at AlphabetSalad.com posted, “Some Questions on Creative Self-Confidence.” Being in the creative arts myself, I found the topic of her discussion and fan Comments thought provoking. In this post, I hope to reassure anyone who creates that they are a creator, anyone who paints that they are a painter, and anyone who writes that they are a writer. It is the actions that determine the title, not the facilitator’s mental set of confidence or self-doubt, for..
“All the world’s a stage…”
William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
And, with every stage there are players, each of whom has stage fright before they go on.
Actors know to leverage this anxiety into a creative pump, even though they may agonize with self doubt, thinking, “Last night’s performance went smoothly, but what about tonight?”
An actor’s fear dissolves, though, as they exit the wings, taking their mark to audience acclaim. The feedback is immediate and, most times positive, so their self-doubts quickly dissipate. The show goes on, while their egos are salved with triumph in minutes, at most within hours.
When you think about it, all of life’s venues, from the boardroom to the bedroom, can cause performance stage fright, the fear of not being well received. But, on most of life’s performance stages, the butterflies of questioning acceptance are fleeting, quickly reassured as the live presentation proceeds in real time.
In the creative arts, however, a project is often planned in isolation, birthed privately and set before the public at a distance. The contact between the creator and their audience is disconnected. An artist painting in oils, works for months and years to prepare a collection of work for a gallery opening. At the show’s opening reception, the creative artist chats with their public, for, maybe, two hours. Then, the progenitor goes back to the studio, while the exhibit hangs for viewing with the artist absently remote.
This disconnect is why we in the creative arts, and especially bloggers, tend to undermine ourselves with insecurity when we create. We work in isolation, without the reassurance of a live interactive audience. Until we have high traffic and an Internet following, our applause is not immediate. Our feedback is delayed. Our human contact, yay or nay, comes electronically intermittent and sometimes, not at all.
When creative people give birth to projects, it is a very personal gift to their audience, but the audience is not at hand to provide guidance while the work is being composed. All affirmations or critiques occur after the presentation. And, especially with us bloggers, who labor bereft of ongoing approval until clicking “submit,” our work is irrevocably revealed for all the world to see. For all time.
No wonder we might have misgivings about the value of what we create and our titled role. We toss and turn until the Comments start flowing in, our post is featured or picked up for syndication.
We bloggers want to express ourselves, be true to our beliefs and creative endeavors, but, at the same time, are hopeful to receive accolades for each stroke of our self-construed brilliance. We are willing to meet our audience half way, we think, in tone and authority, if only they could sit on our shoulder while we type, to temper our thoughts with their own.
But, they can’t, so we remain alone, anticipating contact sometime in the future. Resigned, we beat our keyboard as our own drum, pleasing ourselves, all the time wondering, “Is this effort good enough?” Is anybody out there? Does anyone care?
We think, “Am I like that tree that falls in the forest without anybody there to hear it? Does it make a noise?”
If nobody reads what I’ve written, can I call myself a writer?”
Well, yes, I believe we can, because we all are defined by our actions, not by what we think of ourselves.
Let it be pronounced, therefore, the writer having written is a writer.
Ipso facto, we are what we do.