Artists are, by far, some of the most doubtful people I know. I attend a school of the arts, filled with budding, eager artists, and yet I witness their doubtfulness on a daily basis. My good friend Tori, for example, is a brilliant artist, yet I am only able to catch glimpses of her work as she flips through her sketchbook. From just a couple of glimpses, I have noticed intricate and fantastical swirls climbing along her pages. In the few seconds that my eyes are able to catch her most recent projects, I try my best to absorb the small strokes of ink in quick moments. However, I’ve never seen any of her pieces in their entirety. Tori actually refuses to show me her art work. She stubbornly shakes her head when I ask her and grips her sketchbook to her chest. When I ask her why, she replies simply, “It’s not good enough.”
I like to call this phenomenon of doubtful thinking the “Artists’ Syndrome.” It is an illness that creators of all types were, and most likely are, diagnosed with. In fact, countless authors were recognized posthumously in history, due to the fact that they were afraid to publish their works. Franz Kafka, author of the critically acclaimed Metamorphosis, felt this way. He did not believe that his work was good enough. After his death, his friend discovered Kafka’s true potential, and, eventually, he was the one to publish his novels.
Is it an innate feeling then, to feel doubtful or shameful of our creations? Is it normal to feel this way?
The answer is yes. Art is, simply put, a piece of ourselves. When we create it, we offer a part of our soul to reality; we publish ourselves to the world. Especially when writing poetry or personal pieces of prose, this feeling of humility is strong inside us. It is natural to feel humility toward our creations. After all, feeling doubt is a much better alternative to being prideful. Isn’t it?
That depends. Some artists internalize a stronger feeling of doubt more than others, creating a sense of eternal, never-ending uncertainty. This sense of doubt prevents them from ever making artwork again. I am not good enough, I am not good enough, they’ll say to themselves. They keep themselves from gifting the world with pieces of tangible art, thereby robbing their own lives of humanity’s greatest treasure.
If you are one of these people, I assure you that you ARE good enough. Anyone who is brave enough to share a piece of themselves with the world is a hero. Love yourself, love your work, and be confident. If you feel as if you are not good enough because you have not been published, or have not been officially recognized, do the world a favor and never give up. Opportunities will show themselves soon if you keep working and sharpening your skills.
Good luck, and never stop. If you ever need support, you can always comment below or contact me via the Contact page. Let me know if you have ever experienced Artists’ Syndrome; maybe there is a solution for it that we can all strive to find.