This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
Many of us put off doing certain things out of fear. I’m not talking about putting off menial tasks like cleaning the studio or doing your bookwork. For most of us, procrastination of those things is not fueled by fear.
I am talking about ideas or opportunities or projects that have great potential. It’s not just simple procrastination, though we may blame it on that. It may be the fear of the doing, or it may be the fear of the potential outcome. Often, the fear creeps in because there is risk. And risk means that there is potential for failure. So we put things off. Sometimes we don’t even realize what we are doing.
For example (okay, here is my confessional):
A few weeks ago I thought to myself, I should do an open studio event. Or perhaps I should go so far as to have an actual reception/show at my studio showcasing recent works. I began to get really excited about the prospect. It has been a long time since I have hosted an open studio.
I looked at the calendar to set a date. In order to prepare and market effectively, I was looking about 6 to 8 weeks ahead, but realized that it would fall close to Thanksgiving. As the various dates were considered, I weighed the pros and cons. There were also pros and cons between holding an open studio vs. an actual reception.
Interestingly, as the cons became identified, little fears began to creep in. These fueled other fears. I procrastinated setting a date. I procrastinated announcing the date. I made excuses. After a week or more of this, I was visiting with friend and colleague Charlie Bogusz from Plein Air Magazine. Somewhere during our conversation, she suggested that I should do an open studio event.
As I began to vocalize a few of the excuses that I had made to myself in the week or so prior, I realized that they were nothing more than just that – excuses. I hadn’t even noticed until then. It was the vocalizing of them that caught me off guard. Audibly hearing them pierce my ears shook me to realize that, like a saboteur in the night, my fear had quietly crept in to my mind and all but destroyed my excitement for the idea.
Maybe you’ll recognize a few of my excuses:
- My studio is a mess
- My studio is in an industrial/warehouse unit and doesn’t have much aesthetic appeal
- The lighting isn’t very good in the studio
- I don’t want to spend money fixing up a studio that I am only temporarily renting
- Parking is a problem
- I’m not a very good salesman
- The weeks around Thanksgiving and Christmas are busy for everyone
- It will be a lot of work to get ready for it by then, and I have other commitments
- Maybe I should put it off until after the holidays
There were a few others, but you get the point. Key, though, was realizing that these were all just excuses hiding my real fear:
What if nobody shows up?
The realization that my fear was the culprit was a breakthrough. I began to address my excuses and regained my excitement for having an open studio event. And as for my big fear of no one showing up – I realized that it wouldn’t really hurt anything other than my ego…and I may have a few hors d’oeuvres left over.
So, I have finally scheduled my open studio event.
There are many other such examples where fear can sabotage what you do. It might be scheduling a workshop, attending a workshop, starting that blog, entering a show, creating that work of art that is a huge stretch for you – you know the one. The list goes on and on.
Don’t let fear become the saboteur that hinders your career. What project are you going to begin that you have been putting off out of fear?
PS (Shameless self-promotion) You are invited to my open studio. Attendees will be entered into a drawing.