The truth about artists’ fear

Many creative people are afraid to release their work.

Which seems strange at the same time. We create this being—a book or an album or a painting or so—for the world to see. We design something new all together, knowing someone will see it one day. But that’s the exact concept we’re afraid of.

This stops artists from continuing. They’re afraid of critiques. They’re scared that they’ll never be good enough. They quit after creating a few things, believing the world will never listen to what they have to say.

Tessa Violet, a great musician and youtuber, made an awesome video about this subject on the vlogbrothers channel. She quotes Ira Glass and says:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.”

The quote actually continues to say:

“A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal, and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

It’s a great reminder that we—as artists—can’t do one thing and expect it to be the best. The first few books, albums, paintings, etc. don’t become famous and there’s a good reason for that. If anything, artists get known after they perceiver through when they’re unknown. The struggle makes us better.

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