There’s something that haunts me. Something that whispers to me faintly from far off with each day that passes and every time I pick up my pen. I’ve gotta good at ignoring it, so good that I often think it’s gone but every once in a while it’ll catch me off guard and I’ll hear it loud and clear. It’s that chilling voice of doubt and fear that creeps up over my shoulder and whispers “But what if you’re wasting your time? What if this is all for naught?” Typically I just shake it off but it’s never really gone. It just lingers, lurking in the shadows, waiting around for a moment of weakness to creep up on me and whisper those same discouraging words. I’ve come to assume that it’s my own cautious internal warning system just being over protective in trying to make sure I don’t waste my time and my life. That part of me needs certainty, solid plans, immediate results and guarantees but since when has life ever been certain or ever offered a guarantee other than death and change? Would I ever accomplish anything if I always waited around for certainty to show her pretty face and give me the go ahead? So, at my best, I suppress the doubt and try to move on. Recently though, I had one of those moments and with uncanny synchronicity (which has been happening quite a lot to me this year) I came across this article by Robbie Tripp titled “How To Beat The 5 Most Common What Ifs For Creatives”.
…if there’s one thing in this world that’s not a waste of time, it’s producing something new. ~ Robbie Tripp
Without going too much into the article, which I will link to at the end of this post if you care to read it, it’s a brief but insightful take on the difficulties of the creative process and how fear manifests itself in those “What If” scenarios that beset most creators and innovators. As I read over the article I was quite surprised that the devilish “What If” that haunts me is a common bugger that haunts others. There it was at #5, “What If I’m Wasting My Time?”, the words that at times take the wind out of my sails unexpectedly, that creep up when sales get slow or when a commission falls through. There they were in black and white. It was a relief to discover that I’m not the only one who struggles with this. It’s a “what if” that’s fairly common and seeing it there was actually quite freeing for me. I took from it the enclosed quotes that I now turn to if I have a moment of doubt, to reaffirm that art is NOT a waste of my time. In all I think Tripp’s article offers nuggests of inspiration and relief for any creative who finds her/himself struggling with “what ifs” in their creative pursuits. Check out his article if you feel inclined, maybe a “what if” that’s been haunting you is on the list.
The fact that you have answered the call of your creativity and pledged your passion to it means that you have a much deeper understanding of your purpose in life than most. ~ Robbie Tripp