How to overcome self-doubt in art and lettering

Creatively Confident

Have you felt that nagging feeling of self-doubt? It creeps up on us in every part of our life. So in this post I’m sharing how to overcome self-doubt in art and lettering.

This is the new video in my Creatively Confident series all about the phases of projects and how to overcome self-doubt. It’s a quick watch here:

I found this quote, “The day before something is a break through, it’s a crazy idea” by Peter Diamandis. Every art or lettering project we create has phases. Whether we’re working on an Instagram post or blog post, maybe we’re creating a product to sell. Whatever it is, it has different phases that we have to go through.

At first, we have the idea and we’re really excited about it. It’s the best idea ever. Then we start working on it and we realize it’s harder than we thought it would be. As we keep working on it, we realize, we have dug ourselves into a pit. It feels like everything is going wrong and we can’t figure out how we could possibly make this project work. Why did we think this was a good idea? How did we get ourselves into this?

I’ve created enough projects to know when I’m in the pit. I start recognizing the nagging self-doubts I tell myself, which try to keep me in the pit longer. So how do we stop those self-doubt thoughts and get out of the pit? My one piece of advice is this: Just do the thing you’re doubting. seriously, just do the thing. Ignore the doubting thoughts. You’re going to have them, but you have to do the thing anyway. Being in the pit is hard. Really hard. But there’s no easy way around it. Sometimes it’s longer than others, but you just have to keep going.

Trust that you have good ideas, and as you move forward with those ideas, you will get better at getting out of the pit. You can’t skip the pit phase of any project. Not every project we work on is going to come out exactly as we hope. But each project is going to lead us to  a new project, and more ideas. And that’s why we have to move through that pit. So just know that whatever phase you’re in right now, you’re doing great. Start pointing out your self-doubts as they come and leave them behind you in the pit as you climb out.

How do you overcome self-doubt?

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How to be more creative in art and lettering

Creatively Confident

How can you be more creative in your art and lettering? You’ve heard of pop rocks right? But did you know they were made by accident? In this post, we’re going to learn from Pop Rocks how to be more creative in our art and lettering. I have 3 specific ways to be more creative, and I’ll start with the story behind Pop Rocks.

Here is the video of me creating this piece and explaining the story. I even show you Pop Rocks in action (feeling totally ridiculous recording myself eating candy!).

How Pop Rocks were invented

I’m going to share the quick version of this story, see the full story on the travel channel here. In 1956, William Mitchell worked for General Foods making instant foods. He made Koolaid (a sugary, flavored drink which is still popular today), but they were trying to compete with Coca Cola’s carbonated drinks. Mitchell was trying to make an instant carbonated drink. He actually made a product called Soda Burst that could be stored in your freezer until you mixed it with water and chocolate syrup (carbonated chocolate milk? That doesn’t sound appetizing..). However, it only worked if you kept your freezer below 14 degrees Farenheit, and most stores did not. It didn’t take long for them to discontinue this drink. It was a huge failure for Mitchell.

Because he had been experimenting with an instant, carbonated drink, Mitchell also happened upon Pop Rocks. He had some of the carbonated crystals on his fingers when he was eating, and he noticed that exciting popping sensation. He knew this could be a great product. But the people at General Foods weren’t sure about it. They didn’t start selling Pop Rocks until 1975 (almost 20 years later!) and it was a big hit! They sold 2 billion packets of Pop Rocks and they’re still selling it today. 

How to be more creative in your art and lettering

So what can we learn from how pop rocks was invented? How does this help us to be more creative in art and lettering? Do you ever see someone’s art and think, “I wish I could be creative like them”? Well guess what? You can. You may create something that they hadn’t even thought of. I have 3 specific ways we can apply this to our creativity. 

 

First: Ask more questions.

When we’re curious about how things work, it may give us more ideas. Why does someone’s lettering look that way? Why did they add that certain element? Is there another element I could add? What happens if I blend certain colors? Is this done? Does it seem like a failure? Is there something else I can do with it? Realize that there is no right or wrong answer to these questions either. It’s your creativity. Try answering your questions in different ways.

Second: Notice common problems and try to solve them.

Mitchell was trying to solve the problem of making an instant carbonated drink. It didn’t work, but he found something else because of it. We have lots of things that could be problems in our art and lettering. For example, the problem of letter connections. It’s not like there is one person out there with the only possible way to do it. You can get ideas of how other people do it, but you don’t have to stick with that. Come up with your own. Solve the problem in a different way. You may be surprised how much you like it.

 

 

Third: Don’t be afraid to fail.

Finally, Mitchell figured out that it was really cool to eat carbon dioxide crystals that pop in your mouth. Technically that was a failure because it wasn’t a carbonated drink. His actual carbonated drink was a total failure, but it brought him to Pop Rocks. We have setbacks and some things really don’t work. But that shouldn’t scare us from continuing to try new things, because who knows what your next experiment or failure will lead to.

I hope you will always love the feeling of creating. Keep an open mind, ask questions, look for solutions to problems, and don’t be afraid to fail. Just like Edwin Land said, “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.”

What helps you to be more creative? If you liked this message, be sure to pin any of these images on Pinterest and share with a friend!

 

 

How to stop comparing your art to others

Creatively Confident

The comparison game we play in our head is not pleasant, but it’s real. Especially in the art and lettering world. So this post in my Creatively Confident series is all about how to stop comparing your art and lettering to others in three actionable steps.

how to stop comparing

This post will be focused on how to stop comparing your art and lettering specifically on social media where we just see a snapshot of other people. When you’re trying to grow your following, it’s important to be active and engaged with other social media accounts, but that can also lead to comparing ourselves and getting really down. No matter how good you are, there will always be someone better.

If you’d rather watch me watercolor while I talk about this topic, check out this video:

How to stop comparing your art to others

I will give you three steps on how to stop comparing your art to others and they may seem to contradict each other, but stay with me, I promise it will make sense.

Engage with others more.

Sounds like an odd step to stop comparing your art to others right? Let me explain. Last summer I was scrolling through Instagram and I felt so inadequate to all of the talent I was seeing. I started doubting my own talent. I found myself avoiding liking and commenting on posts that made me feel inferior. This continued for a few days before I decided I wanted to change it.

I decided to try an experiment. I would comment on any post that I liked giving the person a genuine compliment, even if it was a post that made me feel inadequate. Even if there were already hundreds of comments. What happened surprised me. I started feeling really good because I was spreading positivity. By complimenting someone else, it made me feel better about myself. Not everyone responded to my comments, some did, but I felt good either way. From this specific experiment, I gained a few friends, one that I’ve even met in person and still chat with pretty frequently.

how to stop comparing

Step away from social media.

The second tip on how to stop comparing your art to others is actually opposite of the first. Instead of engaging with others, take a break from social media. Turn off all notifications and don’t log back in until you’re ready. You may even want to put away your lettering or art for a little while. You may be reminded of all the other areas of your life that you feel confident in. Unplugging and taking a break could be exactly what you need to quit the comparing game.

When I start feeling the comparing monster creep into my lettering, I have to decided if I need to start complimenting others more, or if I need to unplug altogether. There have been times that I stay off of Instagram for a few days and it reminds me of all the simple things I’m grateful for. When I get back on Instagram, it’s still there. Most people won’t even notice that you took a break (unless it’s for months of course).

watercolor sunset

Learn something new.

The last step to stop comparing your art to others is to learn something new. You may be thinking that you would feel even more inadequate because there’s no way you’ll be good at something you’ve never done before. But that’s exactly why it helps. There’s no pressure to be really good at it when it’s brand new.

You may not have time to spend weeks perfecting a new skill, but you don’t need to. Even taking a basic class could be enough to kick out those comparing feelings. Youtube or Skillshare is a great resource for this. I like Skillshare because you can take a 45 minute class and end up with a really awesome project, for free.

This weekend I was feeling really stuck with a new project I’m working on. My husband and I took a Skillshare class that was different for both of us. The class was a watercolor night sky by @thiswritingdesk. I have really only done watercolor lettering, so to create a whole scene was new to me. My husband had never even touched watercolor before this.

Because it was new, we had no expectation of how it would turn out. As you can see from my video and the images here, we had a lot of fun. In my video above I show you a time lapse of our night skies as we painted side by side. This helped me to feel good about what I was creating without comparing it to others.

If you want to sign up for Skillshare, use this link for a free two month trial. When you use that link, I receive a little something, and it helps you too. I appreciate your support. 🙂

In conclusion, none of us are immune to comparing ourselves to others. But we don’t have to live like that. I hope you take the steps today to stop comparing and let your own beauty shine.

What are some other ways that you’ve stopped comparing your art to others?

The truth about confidence: how to be more confident

Creatively Confident

The truth about confidence might change your whole perspective on what you currently know. You may already have a belief on whether or not you’re a confident person. But are you ready to hear this simple truth about confidence?

Here is the YouTube video I made for this week’s Creatively Confident Series.

The Truth about Confidence

Here it is. The truth about confidence… It’s as simple as this: My confidence looks different than yours. Wait, what does that mean? Exactly that. When I’m living my most confident self, this is going to look different from your most confident self. Ok, that seems obvious, we’re different people. But when we really look at it, it’s not that obvious.

Think about the word “confident.” Now think of a person that you would describe as confident. You may be thinking of someone who is really talkative, bubbly, or friendly. Oftentimes, this is how we would define a confident person. In many cases those people are confident, but not always. Sometimes the more confident person is the one quietly observing everyone. So which way is the right way to be confident? That’s just the thing! It’s going to look different for everyone!

Let’s Define Confidence

Confidence is defined by the Google dictionary as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” The truth is that my abilities are different than your abilities. If I changed myself to act a certain way so that I could be what I thought was “confident,” it wouldn’t work.

My Confidence Story

When I was little, I was shy and quiet. I’m using the definition of shy that is “fear of social judgement.” I would get nervous around people. But as I got older, I grew out of that and I started realizing that I was just a person with a quiet voice who didn’t need to say a lot of extra words. People would call me shy a lot and it drove me crazy. First of all, how does it help me to tell me I’m shy? It would only hurt me feelings. Shy can hurt us if it keeps us from living our true self. But I didn’t actually feel shy. I just didn’t have a lot to say.

But because everyone was telling me I was shy, it was really hard to break out of that and feel confident in who I was. Luckily I was a very observant person. In high school I started noticing that some of the kids who looked “confident” who were really loud and talkative, didn’t always love themselves. They actually looked pretty insecure to me. When I actually liked myself quite a bit. But I was never the life of the party.

As I continued to ignore people calling me shy and started to live the way that felt the best to me, I made a lot of friends. Because I actually love connecting with people and meeting new people. When I’m with one or two people, I could talk to them for hours. But when I’m in a room full of people, I don’t want to be the center of attention. That’s not my confident.

Extroverts vs. introverts

Sometimes we can think that only extroverts are confident when actually there are a lot of introverts who are just as confident or more than extroverts. It’s an individual thing, feeling self-assurance in one’s own abilities. Our abilities are just different. I sometimes consider myself an extroverted introvert because I love connecting with people. It fuels me. But I also really like being by myself. It also fuels me. I’m not going to go deeper into extroverts vs. introverts right now but if you want to watch a fascinating Ted talk about it,  watch this.

 

How to Gain Confidence

All those years, if I listened to the people telling me that I was shy growing up, I may never have made all of the relationships that I’m so grateful for today. I may not have tried so many new things and gone so many new places. Confidence is accepting yourself as you are, not as you think you’re supposed to be or what people say about you. 

When you use the talents that you have right now, you will continue to grow and get better in those unique talents and you will be able to gain new talents and skills. Being confident in yourself doesn’t mean that you are automatically good at everything. But being confident in your abilities can help you as you try and learn new things, knowing that you have the ability to improve.

So today I challenge you to be YOUR confident, even if that looks different than someone else.

What does confidence look like to you?

3 Ways to feel successful as a creative

Creatively Confident

As a creative, there will always be more to learn, more projects to get done, and more money to be made. So how can we feel successful? The very nature of being creative means that you are creating things that others haven’t created before. This can be very exciting, but it means that there isn’t a chart you can compare yourself to and know if you are successful or not. And that’s why this week’s Creatively Confident topic is 3 Ways to feel successful as a creative. 

Before we get into it, here’s the YouTube video on how to feel successful as a creative. If you answer the question in the video, you’ll be entered to receive the physical print totally free. As I created this video, I got really frustrated. I wanted to give up on it several times because it just wasn’t going to be a success. How fitting for this topic, right? But I kept going and I’m proud of the final result. I am giving it to you as a free 8×10 download here.

3 Ways to Feel Successful as a Creative

1- Define YOUR OWN success

Everyone is going to have a different perspective on what success is. We often use numbers to define success because they are easy and quantifiable. If someone has a certain number of followers on Instagram or YouTube, they must be successful right? Or if they’ve made a certain amount of money, that makes you successful… You have to decide what your goals are and how you define success. And then work hard to achieve those goals because they’re what you want, not what someone tells you that you want. There are goals that you might accomplish that have no numerical value, but you can still be proud of them and feel successful.

A few months ago on Instagram, someone messaged me saying that they wished they could be “successful” like me one day. What they didn’t know is that the night before I had been complaining to my husband about how I wasn’t successful. What this person saw of me looked successful to them. But because I felt like I was in a rut, I didn’t see myself as successful. No matter how many people tell you that you’re successful, you won’t believe it until you feel it yourself which brings me to my next point.

2- Stop comparing your success to other creatives

There are two sides of the coin with this one. On one side, we see others having success, and it’s easy to feel like somehow we can’t be successful because of it. I’m sure you’ve felt that before even though reading it here sounds silly. On the other side, we look at others having success, and we may think that’s the only way to do it to be successful. It’s actually the opposite. You are going to be the most successful when you are being true to you and what you’re passionate about. Some of that might look similar to others but it won’t be exactly the same when it’s coming from you.

For example, I have my practice sheets for 26 Ways to Letter the alphabet. I know I am not the only person who has written a letter in multiple styles. Was I copying someone? No. It was how I experimented with finding my own style so I knew it worked for me. I was excited and passionate about it, so I kept my eyes on my own paper, and I created something that has helped a lot of people. 

3- Focus on who you are helping

When you’re afraid to create something because you don’t think it will be successful or you’re not good enough, just keep yourself going by thinking, “If it helps one person, it will be worth it.” Even if that one person is you, it’s worth it. Can this guarantee that you will make the money you want or gain the likes or followers you want? Maybe not, but it will help you feel successful no matter what so you can try again to reach your goals.

When I was creating Fearless Lettering, I had a lot of struggles along the way, not only with production, but with my own confidence. I was creating something I had never seen before. I hardly had any sales in my Etsy shop so I had no idea if I was putting so much time into something that wasn’t going to sell at all. But all along the way, it was helping me feel more confident in my own lettering and life. That was worth it right there. I knew that had potential to at least help one other person and that’s what kept me going.

Fearless Lettering has been more successful than I expected or had the confidence for in the beginning, but I’ve also put things out there that didn’t sell at all. Like ZERO sales. On things I was excited about. Does that mean I’m not successful? No, we have to separate that. The product maybe wasn’t successful, but we are successful because we were brave to try something new. And then we get to keep trying. Maybe the product just needs to be marketed differently. Or maybe it’s needs to be changed a little so it’s better for your following.

I am currently working on a new project that is different for me and a little (ok, a lot) scary for me. I have found myself saying over and over, “If this helps one person, it will be worth it.” My husband was the one that pointed out that I said the same thing during the process of creating Fearless Lettering. My poor husband is so supportive to listen to all of my woes. The point is, if it helps us be brave and put our creations out there, we have to do it. We’ll never know if it will be “successful” or not until we try.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Do you agree? How do you define success?

In case you missed it, download your free 8×10 hand lettered print here!

How to start something new

Creatively Confident, Insights

Have you been wanting to start something new? But you’re not good enough, you don’t know enough, you don’t have enough time, you don’t know what people will think about it, etc. We can make all the excuses in the world! But I’m going to share with you five ways you can start something new even when you feel inadequate.

I’m starting something new

I’m starting a new series on my YouTube channel called “Creatively Confident” where I’ll be sharing an uplifting insight as I letter a quote each week. I will also be giving away the finished piece to one lucky subscriber. You just have to be a subscriber and comment something positive on the video. I want to spread positivity and the more we speak positively (even if it’s on the internet), the more we’ll start feeling it.

I will also write something about the quote here each week and share pictures. That way we can spread these pictures on Pinterest and around the internet. Spreading all the positivity right? 🙂 So let’s get right into this week’s topic!

Here’s the video where I talk more about the quote than in this post:

How to start something new (in 5 steps)

1. Just start.

I could end this post with these two words. You’re going to make mistakes and learn along the way. If you’re waiting to be good enough to start, you’ll never start. You won’t get good enough until you’ve been doing it for years. Just start.

I’ve felt so inadequate to start this YouTube series. I’m not an expert in video, I don’t have all the professional equipment, I’m not always positive myself. What do I have? I have a passion to help others be confident and love themselves. Does it scare me? Oh yeah. Am I still working on it myself? Yep. Do I feel purpose in it? Definitely.

2. Don’t look for inspiration from only the same place.

When you start something new, you want to bring your own uniqueness, not just a copy of someone else. If you’re only watching the same five people, you may end up looking exactly like them instead of giving YOURSELF which is what people really want from you. 

When I was deciding how to do “Creatively Confident”, I was feeling stuck. Then I started looking up YouTube videos and people I had never seen before. It was so refreshing and gave me the inspiration I needed to come up with this series. I’m sure it will continue to change as I learn and get feedback.

3. Realize that you can handle whatever comes. 

Yes, there will be people who don’t like what you’re doing. You’ll come across so many things you don’t know how to do. But realize that you can handle it. You are capable. The more things you overcome, the more capable you feel, the more you learn, so just get started knowing that you’ll be able to handle the things you’re afraid of.

4. Make a plan and be consistent with it.

It’s easy to make one post/video and then lose interest. If you stopped after one post because you found a different way to do it, that’s ok. But you have to be consistent even if you don’t see results at first. Just like working out. You’re not going to lose 10 pounds after one 30 minute workout. It could take a month of working out every day and watching your diet to lose 10 pounds.

It’s so easy to get discouraged when we don’t see results right away. Or when we keep making mistakes. Embrace those mistakes, love the process and you just might surprise yourself.

5. Focus on your strengths and the things you know.

When starting something new, there will always be a learning curve. There will always be things you don’t know. But don’t let that stop you. Focus on how your strengths can help you.

With “Creatively Confident” there are a lot of things I don’t know and I have a lot of fears. But do I have a strength for finding the positive? Yes. Do I love connect with people and helping people? Yes. Those strengths are enough to help me as I learn all the things I don’t know.

When we focus on our unique strengths, we will be able to share something that is unique to us. People need your strengths. So get out there and just start!

If you liked this post, please share any of these images on Pinterest! 🙂

Would you add anything else to this list? I’d love to hear it!