Own Your Work

Hey, everybody.

Today’s topic stems from a trend I see among budding artists, myself included: we apologize for our art too damn much. As we come into our own as creative professionals, we find excuses to dismiss the quality of our work or withhold ourselves from opportunities because we believe we’re not ready. I’m here to tell you that this does not help.

EMBRACE YOUR WORK.

If you are just starting out, this is awesome. You’re committing to it and figuring out this new world that is your chosen art form. Be messy, explore, and find the joy. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Give yourself permission to be imperfect so you can do it, unabashed. That being said…

OWN YOUR WORK.

Stand behind it. I get it, it’s nerve-racking to share something personal with an audience, but there’s also power in it. Your work represents you in all its triumphs and flaws. If you preface the presentation of your work with phrases like “I’m sorry…” or “I just whipped this together…”, you’re inadvertently telling your audience don’t trust me as an artist. Challenge: next time you go to present something you’ve created for the first time, just do it. Don’t preface it. Don’t explain what draft number it is or when you finished it, just do it. Let me know how it turned out versus a time you apologized to your audience beforehand.

YOU’RE AS READY AS YOU’RE GOING TO BE

As the saying goes, there’s no time like the present. I tell myself that I’ll begin that screenplay I thought of, go on a trip to the mountains, finish the last 70 pages of the book I’m reading– and there really is no time like the present. Why not today? Granted, financially I can’t just uproot from work, hop in a car, and head west this afternoon (what’d I’d give if I could) but other, more feasible tasks can be done today. Want to try stand-up? I’ll bet there’s a coffee shop or bar within reachable distance that has an open mic tonight or tomorrow. Don’t stress about having the perfect set; just have the simple goal of getting on stage, then the next time you can focus on having a stronger set. Worst case scenario, utilize the internet. Post a routine or reading on YouTube then share it on Facebook and your other social media platforms. Want to make a movie with your friends this summer? Why not take ten minutes tonight and write a rough outline of scene/plot ideas? What’s it hurt? It’s a small step but a step nonetheless. The more you do something, the better you get at it, and you can’t get better until you start. So give yourself permission to be imperfect at whatever experience level you are with the reminder that you will improve. All in all, start.

Recap:
– Don’t stifle the reception of your work by prefacing it with an apology
– Be confident in what you created. Clearly something about it made you want to do it.
– There’s no time like the present. Quit making excuses and take a step, whatever that may be.

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