The Blank Canvas

The Blank Canvas

It’s a struggle to be a creative soul when the desire to produce results is greater than the actual output.  You want to be prolific but the pressure of the blank canvas chips away at your confidence and instead of producing work, the result is to step away.

Not knowing where or how to start can be challenging.  You want the satisfaction of the finished result, but yet the longer that you take to begin, the greater the chance you will let your creative vision disappear and become frustrated by the anxiety of not taking that first step.

The struggle that most of us have is the desire for the end results of our work to be of a high standard of excellence, or a profound work of art; the thought of not creating something that is to the standard that we set for ourselves and our vision causes a lack of confidence that becomes the reason not to begin.

I constantly struggle with my aspiration to write new ideas or work on new musical compositions. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I intend to create but my own insecurity makes it difficult to put pen to paper.

Each early draft is a struggle and if I take the time to work on a project and the ideas are not flowing or feel like what I had envisioned, it usually gets set aside or abandoned. I always intend to get back to the work that I started, but by hesitating and setting the project aside, my confidence has been affected and it typically ends up with me not finishing the work that I was once passionate about.

I believe the fundamental reason that many of us struggle to complete our intended work is due to a sense of vulnerability and fear that the work we value as an expression of ourselves will either be undervalued, unappreciated or judged by others to be not worthwhile.

The fear of rejection will deter most of us from even beginning to express ourselves. What I have learned though is that we are often our own harshest critics and our self-doubt will mistakenly allow us to view our own work as unworthy. We tend to only see the aspects of our work that did not go as planned or that have taken us in a direction that was not part of the original vision and that gets perceived as negative. Once we have entered this mindset, it is very difficult to see the aspects of our work that has value.

When you have completed the first draft of your work, it is imperative that you step away for a while before you begin to judge its merits. Once a project is completed in its first stage, there is too much energy and emotion invested in our efforts and it’s difficult to judge its worth. Taking the time to reflect on the quality of your work after a break of at least a few hours or even a day or two will effectively allow you to view the work with a fresh perspective which allows you to see the merits of what you created.

I have learned that others will assess or appreciate your work with a different view or perspective and often what you see as not up to your intended standard or vision can be received by others as inspired and with artistic merit. They perceive the work as presented and don’t have the same emotional investment in it, so that allows them the freedom to have the work affect them in a different way.

It is important that we don’t judge our work before it’s complete but just make the effort to do the work. The act of self–judgment will effectively destroy many inspired, creative visions and it is through the journey of just doing the work that we learn how to find and develop our own creative voices.

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