Are all creative people their own worst enemies?

7 Jun

I was talking with a good friend of mine (Greg Keysar, MD-based photographer) last night over IM and he was considering sending a set of photos he had recently taken (parents-to-be on a sailboat) to a few local sailing and parenting magazines (see full set here). Greg is always looking to try new things and push the boundaries with his photography, and really enjoyed himself on the sailboat, so naturally he’d like to expand his portfolio and score some more photo gigs. He is super talented (pretty much a self-taught photographer, excellent fabricator, and general problem solver), but in this case, it seems that he was doubting his abilities. I told him to go for it. The least they could say would be to tell him no. And that’s what stuck with me. The fear of rejection.



For me, rejection is sometimes devastating, but other times it makes me want to go out and prove to the world (and myself) that I can do it and kick ass at it, too. The “it” in this equation may be a side business or an illustration for your website or a self-initiated project that’s been in your sketchbook for over a year.

Maybe rejection isn’t the right word. It could be fear of doing poorly, or not doing your best work. We are all our worst enemies and critics. To me, I think I hold myself back more than anyone else would or could. Self-loathing and depression comes along with the creative territory. It seems like creative people are somewhat manic. There are times where I feel like I can’t create a single good piece and feel like I am drowning in a sea of suck. Other times, I feel like I’m on a roll and keep hitting it out of the park. It’s a vicious cycle, but we all seem to dig ourselves out of the rut and keep on keepin’ on.

Do you feel like you are your worst enemy? How do you work through it? What keeps you going?

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