Thursday, August 18, 2011

Conquering Fear

At different times in my life, people have told me that I appear courageous. In some ways, yes, I am pretty fearless. But when it comes to being creative and putting myself "out there", I often find myself so frozen by fear that I look at the raw materials in front of me, and simply walk away.

That is really, really sad.

When we make something by hand, and especially if we try to sell it, it becomes very easy to identify one's creative identity with those things that others "approve" of through their act of purchasing. This is more than just a good business practice of producing what we know our customers want. Those who have the urge to create know that this urge doesn't give a hoot about what's trendy or selling well. But our egos do. And our egos can overtake our thoughts, telling us that anything new or untested in the market isn't worth our time. What if you spend two hours on this necklace design and no one buys it? What if no one else likes that color combination in your hand and that scarf sits in your shop forever? What if you try and fail?

If you fail? So what.

What if we all make a pact to step outside of our comfort zone? At least once a week, or even once a month, we choose different materials to create with, or try a new design or technique? Set aside an hour or two and just play. What you end up with may be godawful ugly, or it may surprise you with its beauty.

I've made this pact with myself recently. When I make jewelry, I tend to string beads in a nice, orderly pattern...which is classic, right? And boring. Really boring. So I am forcing myself to step away from the beading wire and finally try all of those wire-wrapping techniques, and to use other materials to compliment my lampwork beads. My first bracelet exceeded my expectations:

So stop letting fear dictate what you create. And start letting your creativity be your best friend--and business partner.

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