It probably happened to you, to feel doubt. About your skills or talents, your photography, your artistic vision… It’s normal to doubt. But you have to understand why to believe in yourself again. Read on.
It’s normal to doubt
Having doubt is normal, it’s human. As photographers and artists, it’s even part of our creative journey to question ourselves. And to be uncertain about the answers to our dilemmas. It’s not a bad thing in my opinion. Can we move forward if we always believe that we’re right and great? The important thing is to confront it and not let it settle inside you.
But you have to understand why and address it
It’s crucial, to be able to move forward and to believe in yourself again, to understand the reasons for your lack of confidence. Based on my own experience and struggles, you’ll find below the possible roots of doubt for an artist. And how to address them.
Lack of personal investment
The art discipline of your choice will require the dedication of your time, energy, wallet, and imagination. If you’re treating it like an occasional hobby, you may not be invested enough personally and emotionally. This can result in dissatisfaction and of course doubt about your creative present and future.
The solution is simple: if you really like what you do, commit to it! Schedule at least weekly time blocks when you’ll be able to dedicate yourself fully to the art of your choice.
You shouldn’t be ashamed to not have a lot of self-esteem and acknowledge it. I’m also in the same boat, it’s not easy but it’s not hopeless. In my opinion, our depressed self-esteem’s roots are the absence of tangible success in our lives. But also our inability to recognize the success we had. This leads to uncertainty about our ability to cope with the challenges of a creative life.
Solution: write the success you had—related to your art discipline or not—and choose clear and realistic goals to achieve. From now on, keep track of your achievements and review them when you’re feeling in doubt.
Comparison with others
If you compare your art with others you may feel doubts about your artistic vision and the quality of your art production. It’s a mistake. Because you are comparing your creation with those of creators who have years—if not decades—of more experience and practice than you. You may end up with high expectations that you can’t achieve in the present.
Solution: let other artists inspire you but don’t compare your art with theirs. Focus on your own style, your own universe which are all unique to you. Read also the paragraph below about the lack of experience.
Lack of experience
Not having enough experience is a pain a lot of us feel. It’s frustrating when our capabilities are lacking behind our imagination. This can create a lack of confidence in our abilities to fulfill the artistic desires of our inner selves.
Solution: put more personal investment into your art. Practice regularly, experiment with new things, and study passionately with books. Read also: How to Study (Street) Photography Without Spending Too Much Money
Absence of an artistic vision
No matter the art discipline of your choice, the techniques you’ve learned and the experience you’ve accumulated are here to serve your artistic vision. This one should be unique, and personal to you. The problem is that it isn’t easy to recognize and define what is your own vision. Without a vision, you can feel lost, unfocused, and uncertain. In doubt.
Solution: write down the adjectives that you would like to be used to describe your art. Write as many as you can think of. Now cross out the weakest ones and keep the boldest ones.
Striking for perfection
Running after perfection may exhaust you and leave you unsatisfied and confused. Why? Because nothing is perfect. Our societies aren’t perfect and humans are neither. Let’s not even talk about political leaders… So why your art should be perfect, in the sense that it has to be completely flawless?
Solution: if you’re obsessing over perfection, substitute it with purity. As long as your art is aligned with your soul and your personal vision, it’s pure and untainted.
No widespread recognition, yet
I believe a piece of art is coming to life, coming into existence when a human soul recognizes it, interprets it, and embraces it. Being ignored or not getting enough attention can make us question our relevance in the field we are trying to express ourselves.
Solution: think back to the few people who love your art, and who expressed support for you. Friends, family, unknown on social networks. Be grateful for their support and keep on struggling hard for them. This is one of the things that motivates me the most. Also, try to create beautiful human relationships whenever someone likes your creations.