Since being brave (or foolish) enough to start out on my own I have noticed a trend with creatives. That cycle of woohoo I'm fab, then that downward spiral of nope I'm not fab mixed with a sense of imposter syndrome and abject apology as we point out all the ways we could have made a piece better! We are ultimately our own worst critics. Years ago when I ran craft fairs I always threatened that I would switch people to sell other people's work as they see the amazing talent without the flaws that invariably were not evident anywhere other than the maker's mind! The panic that created was some days a little amusing.
But today's topic - the new notebook syndrome. Ok, hands up everyone who has a beautiful notebook, sketchbook, unsharpened pencils, virgin paintbrush - you each know where I'm going with this and I see you trying to pretend that the notebook is a gift and it's why it's still in the shrink wrap! The conversation came up the other day when my housemate and I were talking about where we wanted to take our work, me I have very little sense of fear and act like a kid who has just discovered lots and lots of new shiny things to play with and I want to play with them ALL NOW!!!! However, I too have a few sketch books that are unopened and gorgeous watercolour pencils still not really tested to their full.
We coined a phrase of the New Notebook Syndrome - that fear of, eek I don't want to start in case I mess it up. What if I spoil this gorgeous new notebook? What if it doesn't work the way I hoped it would? But here's the thing, whatever skills you currently have you did not instantly have them. You probably had to do some training, go on courses, go to classes, watch YouTube tutorials and you would have had to practice. An example I guess is when I was at University, year one essays absolutely abysmal because I wasn't in the zone but by the time year 3 comes along you have your academic style but it had to be learnt. I had to take the feedback and learn to be better, and I did - it wasn't an instant win. Creativity is exactly the same!
So, for all of you that go I'd love to be able to draw, paint, stitch, knit - whatever; the simple truth is you CAN you just can't maybe do it as well as you'd like right now. And here's the other thing, does it matter?? Housemate has a piano, I love thomping on the keys, I'm absolutely rubbish but I enjoy it and I don't intend to be a concert pianist anytime soon as it's just a bit of fun to me. The trick is to start, don't beat yourself up, allow the errors to shape where your work goes, sometimes errors as you see them make for amazing later results. One artist I know accidentally dipped his paintbrush in his tea not his water dish and now paints using tea as the results were magical and capture his intentions perfectly.
If we don't try, we'll never know what we could do! And if you have smaller humans in your life just let them experiment. The trick is not to grow old in our search for what we could achieve and to keep exploring, keep trying new things. I was extremely fortunate with the glass in that I knew what was possible, didn't know if I could do it, but I was dam well going to try and twelve months later I almost have a viable business just from standing there with lots of pretty things going hmm wonder if that will work?!? I know those that know me in real life know I have zero sense of fear when it comes to trying new things, and my innate sense to giggle at myself as the epic fails mount up (nearly burning the shed down was NOT my finest hour!).
So, all those paintbrushes you said oh no I need to keep them for best - don't! That notebook that you're worried about messing up? How can you mess it up? They're your scribbles, thoughts, poems, sketches and the fact you created them is amazing! Do something amazing and take that shrink wrap off that book and just sit under a tree and doodle, never know what you could do!
Have fun, Pixie xx