I am a painter.
And sometimes I suck at painting.
Lately, I’ve been out of the habit of painting every day, and I recently spent some frustrating hours in my studio where I just totally sucked at painting, plain and simple. I was over-thinking, over-painting, over-criticizing, questioning and doubting myself … thinking things like, “I wish I painted like so-and-so” and, “this bird painting has to be the best painting I’ve ever created in my life or I’m a failure!”
And it totally, completely blocked any and all creativity that might have flowed through me. Everything I painted looked downright BAD.
My instinct is to get really mad at myself for wasting all that time and not accomplishing anything useful — I mean, I have paintings to create and deadlines to meet! What am I doing screwing around making ugly work??
But then when I felt thoroughly defeated from beating myself up like a champ, I remembered something:
THIS IS JUST PART OF THE PROCESS.
No one — no artist EVER in history — creates great work all the time.
Creating bad work and losing your way for a little while is completely normal. The important part is to just keep chugging along.
So as scared as I am to go back into my studio to paint (oh my godddd, am I just going to create more ugliness today?), I know that I have to.
My favorite painting professor in college used to say that you have to be willing to make the bad work in order to get to the good work. That always made me feel better, and it still works for me today.
Making ugly work is all part of being an artist.
And if you’re feeling really open-minded and friendly toward yourself, you can apply this idea to life in general — everybody makes mistakes, the mistakes are all part of the process, everybody has their own junk to deal with. You have to allow the mistakes and the struggle in order to invite in the sweetness, blah, blah, blah. Rah-rah — mistakes and struggle are there to teach us something! Be nice to yourself! Cheer, cheer, cheer!
But seriously. I resist the ugly parts of painting; I resist the ugly parts of life. What would happen if I just accepted them as part of the process and dropped all the drama and negative self-talk around it?
Something to ponder today….
Do you get frustrated with yourself when you make something ugly, when you “waste time,” or when you make mistakes in life?
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: For Those Times When You Feel Like You Suck
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