Instinct? Or Over-thinking?

How do you know when to listen to your first thought — your instinct — and when to think about things first before you make a decision? How do you know if you are giving a project due consideration or over-thinking everything?

Getting lost in the psychological maze occurs more often than not. And its especially rough when you are working in a creative sphere.

That nasty little devil big mouth sassy bored opinionated faerie often sits upon my shoulder. Yours could be a little angel, a seasoned sprite, a naughty muse, or a shadowed spectre. It doesn’t matter who second-guesses you. They’re always there, hanging around.

Do any of you sell your artwork? Do you sell at art fairs or online or at a gallery? Did you have a lot of paperwork to fill out? Did you wonder if your wares would impress the masses along with friends and neighbors?

Self doubt sucks.

Whether you’re sending something to a publisher, submitting something to a contest, applying for a booth, or being critiqued for a gallery showing, it all tests your confidence, your imagination, and your business sense. 

These are good things, of course — but they do test you.

You can apply the same doubts to applying for a new job, changing your hair color, or starting new classes. Any time there is something you want and/or need to move forward to get it’s stressful. Any time there is something “more” that is within your grasp, it’s stressful.

Any time you have to work towards a goal, it’s stressful.

How many times does someone have to say they like your work before you believe them? How many kudos and pats on the back do you need before you believe in your work, your art?

I come from a history of self doubt. I’m so much better these days, but somewhere in my past I fell down and didn’t get right up. And not getting up for a long time skewered my view of myself and what I could do.

But as I got older I found I wasn’t such a bad flower after all. I fell in love with writing, with my family, and with art. It was all new and glorious and, I tell you, I’ve never looked back.

But preparing to show my recent art wares to the world is stressing me out. That little faerie keeps bugging me, telling me no one will like my work. 

It wouldn’t matter if I were preparing to take a final in college or submit a story to a publisher. If I were putting together a proposal for work or submitting a bid for a house. I’d still think I thought too little or too much.

Don’t let your self-doubt stop you from doing what you need to do to get where you want to go. Let that faerie/angel blabber away, nod and say I hear you, then go with what you believe. With your gut feeling.

Tomorrow is waiting.



8 thoughts on “Instinct? Or Over-thinking?

  1. Not to single us out (for all of us have doubt), but I think retired artists suffer a bit more. Yes, now we can do whatever we want and paint and write and embroider off the cuff and out of reality, and it feels good, but the world is still working 9-5 and contains the majority of our critics. Will they think our work a waste? Silly? Not as important as those saving humanity? It’s all relative, of course, and we reach all sorts of hearts and minds. But we always stop and think and twice. Too bad, eh?


  2. I think many people suffer from self-doubt but creative people suffer from it the most. In fact, when I had a job as a recruiter and later an employment counsellor, I had all the confidence in the world. But when I retired to write full time, I seemed to have lost it along the way.


  3. I am soooooo glad to hear that! I had a major doubt session starting to get permits for a craft show I’d like to show at.. maybe I should change this, add that — I finally screamed SHUT UP and it all calmed down. You go for it too!!!


  4. Ooowee! Did that hit a nerve!

    Just spent a week not writing listening to that little bugy bug telling me I’ll never get it published even if I ever get it finished.

    Just sent him packing. Tomorrow I write!


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