I've been hiding out the past few weeks. I'm in the middle of several larger projects and there isn't much to see right now, because they're mostly text & illustrations and it feels repetitive to write about the same things over and over. Yep, I'm still working on my fish patterns - think I finally have a handle on them.
That's a really good excuse, especially because it's true, yet the real reason I haven't written recently is fear. Sounds crazy? It's true, sad as it may sound.
I've had a lot of success in my artistic career in the past six or so months. My work took first at the Uptown Art Stroll, a local art festival, in their 3D category. I was invited to speak at the NW Bead Society's annual bazaar and won the people's choice for the Bello Modo challenge. I wrote a guest post for The Book Designer on my experiences self-publishing Freeform Peyote Beading, and Cyndi over at The Beading Arts just did an amazing artist profile of my work. I'm delighted to be teaching at Fusion Beads here in Seattle (one of the best bead store in the country in my humble opinion), and have received word that I'll be teaching two of my classes at a national conference later this year (more on that later). So things are looking brighter and brighter. It's been an incredible journey and I am incredibly, incredibly grateful for my good fortune.
More and more often, however, I'm having to use all of my strength not to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. I have a terrible history of taking artistic u-turns right as things start going well. Because a little voice inside me warns, "Just wait, sooner or later they're going to pull aside the curtain and see the woman pulling all the gears and levers and realize you're a great and shabby fraud". This time around, I'm determined not to flee in panic, but it's hard.
I've tried ignoring this fear, shoving it under the rug and into the closet and just keep forging ahead, telling myself that it will get better if I keep on keeping on. But it's insidious, and rears its head not as fear, but as fatigue, or artist block or ennui. It dries up my words; more and more often over the past month and a half, I've sat down to write on my blog and the words wouldn't come; nothing was there that seemed worth putting to paper, or computer screen.
So I decided to write a post about it. Because I'm guessing I'm not the only one out here with issues revolving around success. Especially when it's personal success. My husband is extremely supportive, but I don't think he quite gets it. As far as he's concerned, I rock (thank you Joe!). Talking with my friends here locally, it seems to be something that plagues more of my female friends than the opposite sex. Why? That I haven't figured out.
I've decided I'll take a multi-step approach to diffusing my fears. The first, I've been doing all along; I've continued working, even if it's just small things. Haven't been writing about it, but I'm still stitching, drawing diagrams and mucking around with instructional text. The second step is right here - sharing this with all of you. The next step after that? I'm working on that - we'll see what comes up.
Actually, I think the next step is asking - have you experienced similar problems? And how have you overcome or worked through them? How do we learn to own our own successes?