On Dealing with Creative Doubt

If you make anything, art or stories or music or any type of creative medium, odds are you’ve heard the defeating thoughts that are built on doubt, the self-comparison game, or a period of just feeling low about yourself (no matter the cause).

These thoughts? Yeah, they’re cruel and unfortunately common if you’re feel low. Here are some replies that I hurl back at them when I realize that, yeah, it may be a low point now, but the future can’t stay this low forever. Even if the war seems long, each thought is a battle you can keep fighting through. I’m cheering you on.

1. You’re not as good as them.

News flash, you’re not the other creator. You may not have their following on social media or the amount of fans. You might not be rolling in dough or brand deals, but you are NOT them. You’re unique. You’re your own brand of creativity and imagination. You may gain their fanbase one day, or it may take a little longer. The most important thing about every creator’s journey is the ability to compete against yourself first before you compare yourself to people who you are not. Because you are YOU, not anybody else. Go through a portfolio of your old work. If you’ve been working at it for a while, odds are there’s SOME amount of improvement. See? You, like everyone else, are still improving your craft and will only get better. That’s pretty remarkable, isn’t it?

2. There’s no point in creating

Okay, this one gets hurled at creators a lot. Yes, we could all be engineers and rocket scientists. But creation, like anything else, is a calling. It’s an almost deific experience, where you have this talent that you want to share with the world. You might be told by others (or even inner thoughts) that your creativity is a waste of time. However, if it makes you happy, no matter the result, or gives you a feeling of fulfillment, then it is NOT a waste of time. It makes you, and others no matter the size of your readership or viewership or listenership or whatever your audience is, happy. That in itself is so important.

3. Your work is horrible

Somewhere along the way, something told you that your work was horrible. Maybe you compared yourself to a pro who’s been doing this craft and working at it for years. Maybe it was a young upstart who became a hit sensation, seemingly overnight. Maybe it was just this crushing feeling of doubt caused by a passing comment or a creeping sensation in the back of your mind.

Everyone has this feeling. The fearful, almost existential realization that, maybe just maybe… your work is horrible.

It’s different. It’s you. It makes you happy. Maybe you’re early on in your career and still practicing. Maybe you still have much to learn. Maybe others are just jealous that you’re working on something they’re too fearful to create themselves. By putting yourself out there and your work, you are bearing pieces of your soul. No matter what anybody says, that in itself is an act of courage.

Keep on being courageous, you amazing creators you.

Your work, no matter what you may think of it now, has the impact to change the world. No matter how seemingly “tiny”. You know the butterfly effect, that every action, no matter how tiny, can change the course of the future?

That’s you, and whether this article helped you or not, I still am cheering you on for fighting the good, creative fight.

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