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IV. Starting Out With Confidence

Updated: Jul 2, 2018

No. IV


I do feel that one of the main limitations to us sharing our own creativity is ourselves. It’s a lack of self-confidence or confidence in the quality of our work. This is not the case with everyone. However, it certainly is for a lot of people, particularly when starting out. For the rest of this post, ‘starting out’ is what we are talking about.


Photography by Matt Bell

To build that self-confidence, people need space to experiment. It has to be a space where they can develop their work into something they are proud of. Then, to take the plunge and show it, they need a push. Both of these require support and encouragement to be able to overcome the worry of performing and the dread of pressure.


Pressure is a double-edged sword. It can be both the biggest fear factor that stops us doing stuff, but also the biggest motivator once we are doing it.


I for one know that I frequently am not sure I can do something within the time I think I’m going to have in the future, but I say ‘yes’ anyway and that pressure of time and my own expectation to just try my best usually gets it done to a point where I am happy. I end up making time for it.


Similarly, there is regularly a feeling of ‘I don’t know if what I’ll produce will be good enough?’ However, that can be an irrational thought process for all of us based on our fear of being judged and compared with other people. So again, I try to say ‘yes!’, and that ‘want’ to produce something that stands up to audience scrutiny, but specifically my own scrutiny, usually gets it done to a point where I am happy… and at the end of the day that is all that counts. As long as you are happy.


There’s a cycle here. If you feel like your material is not ‘audience ready’ then you are less likely to show it. Because of this, you get fewer chances to develop your material and grow your experience and self-confidence. However, if you do decide to show it (or if you are given that all important morally supportive push to do so by friends and family), then an inbuilt need to succeed means that working on your material becomes a priority. You work hard, you develop material you are happy with and you gain invaluable experience and self-confidence. That material then becomes something you can refer back to for the rest of your life. It can give you the knowledge that you can show your work in public and not be embarrassed or fail. That very success can push you to create your next pieces.


Of course, it’s worth saying that sometimes we do fail. When it happens, it can be massively demoralising, particularly when doing something for the first time. But the key is definitely to move on and try again. It’s a cliché thing to say, but it is true.


Just as importantly, creative minds need other people to bounce off. It can be great working by yourself and many people work best like this, but sometimes it can lead to your ideas and energies partially drying up. If you can surround yourself with similar minded creative people, that mass conglomerate of ideas, skills and liveliness can be exactly what is needed to kick you into action. It will provide energy and give you the inspiration to create wonderful new and interesting ideas. Their feedback can often help you grow in confidence as well. It’s why writers, poets and musicians talk of ‘having a muse’. Of course, it can also provide a mutual support network of likeminded people which is something we all need.


If I haven’t already made this clear, what I am trying to say here is this; go out there and have a go. Meet new people and have fun. What’s the worst that can happen?

Come along and join us at Devon's only dedicated youth arts festival. TYPify is going on from the 6th – 8th July at the historic Poltimore House just outside of Exeter.



#TYPify2018

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