How often do you tell yourself you “can’t” or “shouldn’t” do something?
In the process of writing the first draft of my book, I realized how often I get in my own way by putting limitations on myself and my creativity. I would catch myself trying to throw up stop signs by questioning my instincts, trying to force myself to do things a certain way, and worrying whether it was “good enough.”
All of these self-imposed limitations spring from self-doubt. To fully embrace our creativity, we have to first give ourselves permission to trust ourselves.
This is one of the most important steps to overcoming self-doubt as an artist. Follow these tips to help you give yourself permission to fully embrace your creativity.
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Tips for Creatives on Overcoming Self-Doubt
Give yourself permission to do it your way.
Exploring how other creatives work and experimenting with different creative processes is a great way to make your own process stronger and more effective.
However, don’t force yourself into a box if something is hindering rather than helping you. Keep what works and discard what doesn’t.
There are no rules to creativity — that’s the whole point. The magic is in your unique approach and perspective.
Give yourself permission to suck.
One of the most challenging parts of doing anything creative is getting over the fact that what you’re creating will suck (perhaps for a while) before you make it into something good.
We can be our own worst enemy when we judge our first attempts and rough drafts against the perfect vision in our mind and then pump the breaks on a project because it doesn’t measure up yet.
It’s not going to measure up to that vision in the beginning. You have to start somewhere and then mold and sculpt it into what you want it to be. Telling yourself it can’t suck at any point is counterintuitive and unrealistic.
You can’t get around this. Let. It. Suck.
Give yourself permission to explore wild, crazy ideas.
Don’t stop yourself when an idea starts to come because it “won’t work” or “isn’t good enough.” Let yourself fully explore it.
When we act as strict gatekeepers and immediately strike down every idea that isn’t immediately spectacular, we miss out on the ones that could evolve into or lead us to something brilliant.
You’re also training yourself to not think outside the box when you constantly shut yourself down. You never know what you may find down that path or what else it may inspire if you give it a chance.
Give yourself permission to take as long as you need.
In your gut, you know when you are avoiding something out of fear and when you genuinely need more time to work on something.
When you are consistently working on a project and it’s just not feeling right, give yourself permission to take a step back and let it breathe. You don’t need to rush through it just because someone else did it in a certain time frame.
We are all on our own paths and every individual project will be different. Trust the process and your own pace.
Give yourself permission to create for yourself.
We all want to create things that others will appreciate but that shouldn’t be a dealbreaker on whether it’s worthy of your attention or not.
Put your passion in the journey — the process of creating something that fully excites you — rather than a destination of external validation.
This will ensure that you are always being true to your own creative vision rather than external pressure to please someone else, which will always lead you to compromising your art in order to receive personal validation.