Believe in yourself and your work

From the imagination of Logan, 7 years old

Logan's zombie invasion

Art, in whatever form, is meant to be shared. We don’t create (or shouldn’t, as may be more appropriate) to hide these works away. Whether you write, draw, paint, sculpt, create music or create something artistic in any fashion, the world deserves to “look upon” the vision you have breathed life into.

Too often we are our own harshest critics. In our eyes, nothing we do is ever good enough to be shared with anyone outside our most immediate and private sanctum. I am just as guilty. While writing, I think the story is the best thing I have written to date. Afterward, doubt creeps in. That wretched and insufferable bitch creeps in and whispers in our ear, “It’s horrible. Surely you don’t mean to send that out?”

Two recent events prompted me to write this blog you are reading. My seven-year old, Logan, drew a comic (not pictured) that he was so proud of. He is an avid illustrator and wanted to share his cartoon with the class. He brought it in and did not get the reaction he expected. Most of the kids did not get the humor he was going for and had no interest in the cartoon he passed out. He was upset. He began to doubt his own ability. I reminded him that not everyone is always going to like his art. That he was very talented and plenty of people have complimented on his obvious talent. I told him how so many other musicians, artists, writers and creators were turned down or away by some but went on to be wildly successful (Stephen King and J.K. Rowling jump into mind right away).

Another friend expressed to me that she had not sketched anything or drawn anything in a long time because she was so hard on herself. Again, I reminded her that she should feel comfortable in her own creations and that they should be shared, critics be damned. This is not to say that first drafts and products you don’t feel strongly about should just be thrown out into the world, released like fledgling birds with nary a feather to fly. No, if you have created something that you truly feel proud about, something that you know you did your best on, you should lift your chin and boldly present it to the world. There will be those who whisper, or think they can do better. There will be those who don’t get it. But there will also be those who love it. Those who want more. Those who appreciate what you have done. What you are doing is for you, and it is for them. Disregard the naysayers and the inner critic who creeps into your thoughts to wriggle worms of self-doubt into your soul. Silence her. She is just afraid that you’ll succeed and leave her alone and insubstantial.

Logan's "self portrait"

A ninja battle

So please, believe in yourself. Believe in your work and above all else, share it. Where would we be if we all kept our work to ourselves? There would be no Harry Potter to read, or Star Wars to watch. There would be no Disney World, no Mona Lisa. There would be no Beatles. No Phantom of the Opera. No Hamlet. You get the idea, now get out there and create….and let us all have a peek.

You deserve it.

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5 comments on “Believe in yourself and your work

  1. Darlene A. says:

    Great, inspiring post! I thought that I was writing brilliantly as I was writing my 50,000 word novel… As I’m reading to edit now, the critic in my head claims that it’s a piece of shit and no one should read it. I’m really not sure what to do… I want to share it, but I have to edit a lot, but I think it’s so hopeless. I don’t think it’ll ever get out of the shit-state it’s in.

  2. josephmcgee says:

    Revision is part of the refinement process. So is that feeling of overwhelming helplessness, like falling out of your boat in the middle of the ocean. Write it all, completely, without looking back. Then, go back and sit down with it. Enjoy it. Rediscover it and edit the hell out of it. When you feel you have it polished enough, give it to a few trusted and honest readers. Let them mark it up while you do the same. After it has been polished until you feel you cannot possibly do anything more to it, then it is ready to leave the nest. But, remember, this is YOUR creation. Enjoy it, even the tiring and overwhelming moments.

    • Darlene A. says:

      I’m lucky I have until June to edit this piece. It’s hard, looking back, thinking it’s crap, but still wanting to work with it anyway.
      Thanks for your advice 🙂

    • josephmcgee says:

      That is soooo cool! My wife was just saying how we should put together some kind of collection of his art. How did you find that site? Very interesting, thanks! He is always drawing and we encourage him like mad. He has a drawing/drafting table in his room and hordes of art supplies and books. I love it!

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