Who made that peerless piece of aesthetically confounding confection you see to your left, you ask? It is in fact I, your intrepid dreamer-doer, Cherie.
It’s bad. I know.
For various reasons I’m endeavoring to do art journaling. The image to the left is my first attempt. I kind of love-hate it. I love it because it exists. Its existence means that I fought back my sense of perfection and mad a bold step into a new and untried artform. It means I spent an hour using brand new parts of my brain; that I battled back the knee-jerk-like habit I have to fill my free time with either obsessive work or mind-numbing Netflix viewing. I did something new and slightly uncomfortable, and as you know from Oprah, to Brene Brown to about every other meme you see on Facebook, doing new things is the courageous first step to a well-lived life. I also love it because it’s true. You should. Just start. Even if you suck. I’m glad I brought something out into the world that reinforces that message.
And I hate it because it’s bad. It’s poorly placed on the page. The color palette is disorienting and my ability to create fancy fonts, free-hand (say that five times fast) is sorely lacking.
I, like everyone else, want people to think I rock. And I, like most of us I believe, know that the best way to get people to think you rock, is to show yourself off doing things at which you rock. Visual arts clearly is not that medium for me.
So, I hear you saying to yourself, “It’s okay that she sucks, she’s just beginning. Why doesn’t she just wait to show off her art until she actually knows what she’s doing? She could take a few classes and practice some more. She could do more drafts along the same theme and then share it. Even in today’s share-everything society, you can wait until you can put your best proverbial foot forward.?”
And as I type your imagined advice for me, I realize it is good advice. Good, rational advice. You can take time until you actually know what you’re doing before you share it. You can get a solid foundation of skills underneath you before you fling your tender-hearted creations out into the electronic ether. You have a point; a great one, actually. And sometimes, it’s important for even typo-happy goofs like me to settle-down, button-up and fly right. There is a time for whim, but there is also time for credibility and professionalism. Sometimes looking like you don’t have your act together distracts people from your message; it keeps them from appreciating its power. That’s a real thing and should be taken seriously. And maybe your point would make for a wonderfully thoughtful blog post you could share on LinkedIn; after you’ve proofed it, or course. I’d read it.
So, you should do that. When the stakes are high and time is available, pull back. Take a deep breath and get your poop in a group before you charge forth undaunted into disapproving decision-makers.
But . . .. (you knew that was coming, right?)
Not at the expense of taking action. Sure, I could have waited until I knew what I was doing before I shared my drawing, but (there it is again) at what point do I decide that I know what I’m doing? How many drawings, or classes or drafts do I need to do before I share it with the world? Couldn’t you get so wrapped up in your preparing that you never actually do share? The decision to have your act together before you go out and share things is a good one, and you should do it, but not at the expense of never feeling good enough to actually share. So many businesses haven’t been started, paintings haven’t been painted and inventions haven’t been invented because people are planning on fixing to get ready, to prepare to try something . . . . when they know what they’re doing of course. It’s good advice, it can also be the death of dreams.
So take it. When you have the time and when you have a reasonable balance between preparation and action, take your time and do it right. It will probably save your ass.
But (this is the last “but,” I promise) for every other time (and there are a lot of them, probably 10xs as many when you’re making your dream happen). Just start.
What haven’t you shared with others because you didn’t think you were ready?