Let’s be real for a moment -
Most of us don’t just want to make art, we want to make good art. The kind of art that sells out tickets and blows up the internet.
But how do we get to the good stuff?
I’m pretty sure it’s by be willing to suck, along with practicing, training, practicing, learning, practicing, having mentors, practicing, and more practicing.
You have to start somewhere and do the thing if you ever want to get to the “good” status.
But even with raving fans and critical acclaim, you might still think you suck.
“No artist is pleased.” (- Martha Graham)
Take Bruce Springsteen, for example. He called his Born To Run album “the worst piece of garbage I’d ever heard,” and it went on to launch him into stardom. (source)
He thought it sucked, but he put it out there anyway, and look what happened as a result.
So how do you really know if you suck at art or not?
You don’t know. But keep making it anyway.
If it’s coming from an authentic place within you, if you enjoy the process, if you feel incomplete when you’re not doing it, then please keep going.
You might suck at it, you might think you suck at it, other people might think you suck at it, but what matters is that you do it anyway.
If you stop yourself out of fear of sucking - or fear of succeeding - here are a few things that might help you out of that rut:
Get clear on your big why. What’s the motivation behind your art? What higher purpose is it bringing you towards? WHY do you need to do it? Do some free writing on these questions or check in with your heart until you know the answer. When you have a greater purpose in mind, it’s a lot easier to get out of your own self-criticising ego and be willing to put yourself out there.
Fall in love with the process. Stop thinking about the final product, and instead get really present to each step of the way. Arrange your working environment to be one you love. Find the collaborators who light you up and work with them. Have a blast in the process, find your flow, and it won’t matter so much what happens in the end.
Anchor yourself in a creative practice that no one can take away from you. While some art compels you to move towards reaching a bigger audience or to fit into an industry standard, there’s other art that can be just for you. This is your private journaling or painting practice, your at-home karaoke sessions, or your dance breaks in the kitchen. Keep up with these practices no matter what, and you’ll stay connected to your creative source throughout any of the ups and downs of art making.
People will always have opinions and judgments and they are none of your business, unless you make it so or use the criticism constructively for your process.
Now go do your thing.
good or not, here we go,
p.s. I subjected myself to criticism and performing something that I thought sucked this week, when I was invited back to New York’s Got Talent for Season 3. Despite feeling like it sucked, the audience voted me through to the final round where I’ll be competing for a chance to win a 6-week run of my own show Off-Broadway. Getting closer to that reality really kicks the “fear of sucking” into high gear, but I’m taking my own advice and staying connected to my big why and the process. If you’d like to come out and see the show on August 23rd, I would love to see you then! (Even though I’m terrified and don’t yet know what I’ll be performing!) Tickets are here.
p.p.s. There are 2 spots open for the Creative D’Answers 2-day retreat in NYC. This is a unique opportunity to spend time with me in an intimate setting, both in the studio and on fantastic adventures around the city, all designed to connect to you to your creative power and confidence. Join us here!