feedback fear

the face that started it all

the face that started it all

I won’t ask for feedback on my creative projects, in spite of feeling that I really should.

I am afraid.

I don’t think I’ve got a clear idea of what it is I want to say about the world and my experience of it. And if I give someone else a chance to offer an opinion, I know I’m a wimp, and I’ll change my work to meet their expectations. I’ll lose the opportunity to express myself because I’m not strong enough to resist good intentions.

And yet, I remember Nick’s delight at a small figure prodding me into creating three more versions. I loved the feeling of winning his approval. I also took courage from his understanding of what I enjoyed about that particular creature. I was astonished and pleased by its liveliness, and he got that.

In those early days of exploring clay sculpting, if I’d invited comments from someone who hadn’t liked what I was doing, I’m sure I would have given up. In the face of indifference, I’m barely able to keep on with any project, but given out and out criticism, I fold. All my internal negativity floods out. “See, “ I hear myself shouting, “I told you you couldn’t do it,“ and I slink away, red-faced that I even dared to try.

If I get things actually finished, it’s easier to show them to others. But even so, it’s scary when I don’t know if I’m going to receive helpful insights or flat rejection. It takes an unshakeable belief in yourself to withstand an “I just don’t like it,”  Perhaps even more fortitude to hear “What if you just changed this part? My friends and I would buy something like that.”

Because ultimately, that’s where I seem to be stuck. If someone would pay for what I’ve created, I would think it had value. If it goes unsold, then no matter how much I liked it, it feels like it just wasn’t good enough.

I hate that I do this to myself. I see, and hear, and enjoy all manner of beautiful things that do not cost money. When I’m in my right mind, I remember that, and can enjoy whatever I’m doing. So for me, a crucial part of my creative process is trying to stay in my right mind. I try never to think “will it sell?” I focus on shaping the clay, stroke by stroke. I watch for signs of where it wants to go. I feel its texture and learn simple but for me, amazing things.

And I put off the outside world and its judgement for as long as I can.

 

#creativeprocess, #feedback, #fear, #opinions, #clay sculpting, #criticism, #sellingart

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