Where does creativity come from? I'm not saying I know, I'm just asking. And while I'm wondering aloud, why do we doubt ourselves when it comes to our creativity?
A couple of years ago I published a book. It was a little book, a travel memoir. The thing is, I started writing that book 13 years before I actually finished it. I procrastinated and dismissed my ability, thinking to myself, "Who am I to write a book? Books are a big deal. No one would ever want to read anything I have to say." Then I had a total knee replacement. I was pretty much sequestered to my recliner for a couple of months so I decided to take another look at my unfinished travel memoir.
Upon re-reading it I expected my same negative thoughts to accompany me, but for some reason they stayed away. I read what I had written years before and much to my surprise it sounded good! I read it aloud just to be sure and it still sounded good. I pulled a fresh ice pack out of the freezer for my knee and got down to business. I wrote and wrote and wrote and a couple of months later, I had actually finished it. It was a book! Upon the advice of a friend I self-published "Dreaming of Sicily - A Travel Memoir," and it now sells on Amazon.com and in my Etsy store (Pretty Girl Postcards).
But this blog post isn't about book writing, it's about believing in yourself and your abilities as an artist. Don't think that your creations aren't worthy. There may be someone out there just dying to find your product. They may not even know what it is they are looking for, but when they see your fine work they know they've found just what they were looking for.
Here's a little game I play when the self-criticism fairy decides to rain down upon my parade:
I think to myself:
What if Michelangelo had painted the Sistine Chapel, climbed down from the scaffolding and said, "Ugh, who would want to look at that?" and instructed his workers to instead paint the ceiling white. There would be no reason to go to Rome! (Okay, bad example. Of course Rome would be worth visiting even without the Sistine Chapel. I mean, really, it's ROME!)
What if [insert the name of your favorite singer/songwriter/musician/band here] had decided he or she wasn't talented enough to record their compositions. Can you imagine even one day without hearing your favorite song? I know I can't!
I could go on an on, but what I really want to say is... BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Put your work out there. Listen to your muse and tell that self-criticism fairy to 'sod off!' And who knows, maybe your creations will inspire another artist somewhere down the road to create something beautiful of their own.