I told you in my last post about the block on creativity I’ve been having and when I decided to start blogging again I was sure my creative spark was back. It turns out this might not be the case. I’m still going to do the blogging thing again but despite having planned some more posts I just can’t make myself write them. While I’m getting my head around how to write things without feeling like they’ll be awful, I’m going to write about feeling like anything I make will me awful.
I guess we all doubt ourselves and we worry that any creative output will be received negatively but I know some of us are dogged by it on a much more regular basis. Two sentences ago, as I was writing the intro, I didn’t really think about the influence of imposter syndrome but now it seems like the obvious culprit. The following definition will probably help you understand better than I can:
“Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. They seem unable to internalise their accomplishments, however successful they are in their field.”
I’ve spent most of my life creating stuff and mostly being praised for it but almost instantly disbelieving any positive feedback. This is imposter syndrome and it’s made me reluctant to make new content because I know I’ll end up feeling like people are only saying the nice things because they don’t want to upset me or because they just want me to stop talking. When I write things I reread them so much to make sure there aren’t any mistakes that they seem stupid and nonsensical. When I make things (like food, or crochet hats) I assume the recipients will have to present their pretending-this-revolting-thing-is-amazing responses. It’s quite tiring really, expending so much more effort on things rather than just being excited to give homemade gifts. I know that if someone made me something that took a lot of effort I’d be really grateful and I would like it even if it was wonky or odd looking.
Doubting myself extends to jobs too. I know bosses have to be honest when they comment on your progress in a job but it hasn’t stopped me trying to second guess and over analyse their compliments in the past. At the minute I’m applying for as many jobs as possible because I don’t like not working but there are some jobs that I haven’t applied for or for which I delay applying until the last minute because I tell myself I won’t be good enough and I won’t be able to do the job. I mean, yeah, there’s always going to be someone who seems to have more experience or more confidence but why shouldn’t I apply? Even if I’m not successful at least I’m trying, right? (I’m saying this now but I know for a fact I won’t always tell myself this.)
Part of the creativity block is a result of my mental health too. When my brain isn’t well, I doubt myself more and I’m less likely to do the things I want to do. My ideal life would involve a lot of making things and writing things and reading things while I do a job that I enjoy (like working in a bookshop, or in a youth and community project) but I get disheartened and sometimes don’t know how I’ll achieve that life because how am I supposed to do those things when some days I can’t even make my breakfast properly?
While it might sound like I’m fishing for compliments, I’m really not. What I really want is to be able to always do the creative things I want to do without trying to find some greater meaning or reasoning. Sometimes it feels pointless to do something if there’s going to be no results or productivity and it’s because creative things are so often belittled in comparison to less arty things.
The point of this blog is for me to write more often about things I want to write about which should mean I find it easier to write. I don’t but I feel like the process of writing this post has made me more chilled and ready to get back to it.
I hope you all find the creative spirit.