“The failure of an artist is not the inability to draw or create, but the resistance to continually learn and do. Every artist, in their own mind, is a work in progress.” — Eugenia Leung
(Substitute “artist” with whatever word you prefer in the quote above)
Have you ever said some variation of the following?
I don’t have the guts. I can’t put myself out there. I wish I was more like X. I’m too old/young to start X. I’m just not naturally talented like so-and-so. Maybe they won’t like me or what I have to offer.
I could never do that.
I admit I’m guilty of comforting myself with many of these lies. In fact, these thoughts run through my head almost everyday, but I still go on. Not because I’m somehow stronger, but because it’s all that I really can and must do, don’t you think?
A year ago, I thought I could never pursue my love for illustration and curiosity for writing.
Heck, I hadn’t drawn for over 6-7 years and my writing was so terrible, I even blushed about it in private!
I never had any formal art training beyond elementary school, I was bored out of my mind by the art history prerequisite back in my college days, I don’t have an MBA, I found writing to be very challenging, I
had have a questionable grasp on grammar, and I suffered from a pathetically limited vocabulary.
So, according to everyone who was convinced they knew me better than myself, I was totally “unqualified” to pursue illustration and writing. Do I even need to talk about the looks of (loving) concern? It was like they mentally stamped the words “starving artist” on my forehead and I couldn’t erase it from their mind.
But according to me, I wasn’t going to let their uncertainties or their standards lead my life.
So, what happened? I grabbed a pen and started writing and drawing a lot of shit every day.
Sadly, not the epic kind, but the stinky kind.
I’m not going to lie and pretend that I miraculously got better with each passing day. In reality, I had nuggets of good sandwiched in between massive collections of bad. In fact, drawing and (especially) writing still do not come easily to me.
Even so, I’ve learned to get comfortable with knowing that nothing worthwhile and meaningful ever comes easily. If it did, everyone would be living their purpose right now. But you and I both know that plenty of folks would much rather spend their days building barriers against risks rather than opening up to uncertain possibilities.
I’m fine with knowing that I’ll always have a long journey ahead of me. No doubt, you have a long way to go as well.
But it’s better than going no where at all.
Have you ever stopped yourself from doing something before giving yourself a chance? What area in your life are you trying to improve and grow right now?
And do you want to see some of my old shit? ;D Let me know!