How to Build Confidence in Your Creative Practice

April Arotin

All art is good art, and all artists are worthy.

Any creative act changes the world in radical ways, even if they feel minimal, inner and personal. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking work to be fulfilling, necessary and beneficial.

The first thing to remember if you're looking to start creating again is that we don’t lose our creativity, we just lose access to it. When we stop tapping in, the well runs a little drier.

But once you start again, it does become like a wellspring.

There’s the notion that there are random unattached creative ideas out there, that come to us – and if we are ready, we bring them to fruition – and, if not, they move along to the next person.

Let yourself be that person as much as you can and explore ideas as they come.

More ideas will come, and they’ll get better and better. But you have to be actively making to be open to them. By making, you’ll hone your craft and build your confidence at the same time.

The second thing? Losing the creative urge and losing the ability to let your creative side show are two wholly different things. It’s really a two-part thing: making the work & being vulnerable enough to share the work.

Just start somewhere. I think it’s super important to start again with zero expectations. And give yourself the grace to be unsuccessful, to be creaky and rusty and unsure. You don’t have to make the best work ever, or even good work, on every single attempt, and what’s successful and what feels blissful to make can be two different things. Be okay with that.

Honor the process, don’t get hung up on the results.

Let your plans shift midway if they need to – don’t get hung up on the results. When you’re done, start the next thing – don’t get hung up on the results. See a pattern here? Don’t get hung up on the results, look into the process for the satisfaction of making for the sake of making.

Here is the best advice I can offer as a working artist on putting your work out there:

  • You don’t have to be blissfully, unabashedly enamored everything that you make.
  • You don’t even have to like it.
  • That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share it, or that it should remain unseen.
  • It also doesn’t mean that someone else won’t like it or be moved by it.

Here are the final thoughts I have to share with anyone who is struggling with the muse:

  • Trust yourself, trust the innate human instinct to make the world beautiful. We ALL have it in some way, and the expression is different for everyone. We are all living, breathing artworks. We heal ourselves through creating, and all artists are healers.
  • Trust the people around you to be supportive (and if they’re not, find new people).
  • There is a person for each work, whether or not they’re in the same time & place as you and your work is another story. Trust that the work will make its way to the person who needs it.
  • Take the time to learn how to work with your materials, explore the foundations and dive into it. Build your confidence in yourself by doing the work & growing your skills.
  • Invest in yourself, your materials & your network. Spend time with other artists and build your community.
  • Use your time well. Schedule it, plan it, strategize how you’ll use that time before you sit down with your creative work. And then honor yourself by following the plan.
  • Don’t second guess yourself, just keep going.

And be okay with feeling unsuccessful sometimes, just keep going.

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Contemporary artist and jewelry designer. Advocate for radical self care. Meandering wordsmith, lady metalsmith. I write about radical self care through unapologetic creativity, outline strategies for living a more creative life and honoring the call to be creative.

Cleveland, OH

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