Building confidence as a creative
For about three years after college graduation I stopped making things. Senior year was rough creatively and after graduation I lost the confidence and belief I had in my creative abilities. The desire to get a job… any job also stopped me from creating. Anything that sounded or felt fun felt wrong while being unemployed. So I stopped making, creating, researching, and playing, and threw all my energy into finding a job and doing good work. Last summer I took a course on making flower bouquets, and that class set me on a new creative journey.
One of the hardest parts of this journey has been building and maintaining confidence while learning new things, and new styles of working. Not comparing my work to the amazing work all over the world has been a daily battle, but it has been getting easier over time.
Believe in yourself
The number one step in building your creative confidence is believing in yourself. Remember that every creative has felt the same way as you, and the overcame those feelings, or they know how to move through them. That means you can too. Trust in your ability to figure it out or ask for help when you can’t. Believe that you can get to where you want to go with hard work and dedication.
Do your work first
Before consuming the work of others, do your work first. You will have a greater chance of coming from an authentic place, before the ideas of others invade your mind. Doing your work first also gives you time to create without comparing your work to someone else's.
Regularly challenge yourself
Make up projects, redo old ones, or try something outside of your comfort zone. Succeeding at challenges will remind you that you are capable of doing hard things. You can and will figure it out, and when an obstacle shows up, you will have built up a confidence knowing that you will be ok.
Invest in your skills
Invest in yourself through books, courses, workshops, articles, and video training. Take the time to level up your skills by learning through others. Remember that there are others that have been where you are now, and they may have lessons that can help you reach the next level a little faster.
Show your work
Use Instagram, blog or another platform to show your work. It can be hard at first, but over time each post will become easier. Explain what your process is, why you made certain decisions, and what you liked or didn’t like about the final result. Even if you aren’t 100% proud of the work, show it anyway. Tomorrow is a new day and you are always growing. Learn from your work and incorporate those lessons into future projects.
Look at past work
If you ever want to remind yourself of how much you’ve grown, look at previous work. If you can look at work from 4 years ago, 1 year ago, 6 months ago or even last month. Notice how much your work has evolved, and how your creative voice has become stronger with every project.
How do you build and maintain your confidence as a creative?