One of the reasons I’ve been reluctant to share my work publicly is that nauseous feeling that takes over me when I look back at what I created, wrote or drew few years, few months or even few weeks ago.
It is something I noticed very long time ago, when I’d flip a few pages of my diary and feel like there was a completely different person logging in only a few days before. Needless to say, nobody was actually stealing my diary and pouring their deepest secrets on its dotted lines, but at times it’d almost seem so. My handwriting would change, the style in which I would write, the vocabulary I’d used - which are all pretty normal and temporary things that can change in short time-spans - but the aspect that horrified me the most was the essence of the human behind my scribblings, the opinions, feelings, approaches and mind-states which were transforming all so damn fast and abruptly that at some point I started to doubt all of my thoughts and opinions, asking if I’d be ashamed of them in a few weeks, just like now I am ashamed of what was standing in their place some ten days ago?
Horrified by these fast-paced changes in my creative expression and shame and disgust I’d feel when looking at my earlier work, be it writings, poetry, paintings, drawings or photography - I was postponing sharing them with others, even just with my friends on Instagram. On the other hand, I wanted to do it so badly. I’d be seeing other artists and creative souls sharing their work online and would feel so attracted to do the same, but there was that underlying fear of looking back and being ashamed of my work. I had been promising myself that I’d do it when I get just a tiny bit better, when my English improves, or when my paintings look a bit more “presentable”, whatever the fuck it means.
Time passed and nothing changed. My perfectionist side kept sabotaging me and preventing me from sharing my art with others and once I got aware of it - of the pattern that has been repeating on and on for years, I just decided to do it as I realized that I’d never be completely satisfied with anything I create or write and therefore there’ll never be the perfect moment to take the leap of faith and put myself and my work out there.
I got over my pride, told my fear to take the back seat and started to put some of my drawings and paintings on Instagram. When it stopped being scary and nerve-wrecking, I took it a step further and started sharing even the stuff I thought bad and shitty for the sole purpose of putting myself in the midst of discomfort and getting rid of the pressure that every single thing I create should be good. If I allowed myself to create stuff I wasn’t necessarily proud of and started to see it as a part of journey, step stones on the path of creative evolvement, it’d suddenly all become less important and I could focus just on that - growth, evolution, learning - instead of dwelling on previous work that didn’t meet the impossibly high standards that I tend to set for myself.
That step opened the gates to new creative freedom that I didn’t even know existed! Once liberated of the pressure to always create something “perfect”, my creative juices started to overflow and my production increased immensely! I rarely look back on my previous work and if I do so, it is only to see how much progress I made and not anymore to beat myself up for the lack of skills that I notice in my earlier works. The funny thing, also, is that some of my artwork that I really didn’t like from the beginning received the most praise and positive feedback while paintings I was stoked about and proud of sometimes received very average feedback. What does it mean? Absolutely nothing!
I want you to start creating more and do it for the mere joy that comes through the process. Share your creative magic with others and let it touch their souls - and, most importantly, don’t judge your work and keep it for yourself until it reaches ‘perfection”, you never know what can resonate with whom! Maybe exactly that poem you are ashamed of sharing is what someone needs to hear in this very moment - we never know what can ease someone’s pain or bring some light and hope to their day.
Love you all and stay creative,