Well, I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night…soooo…
Well, I didn’t have very much time to prepare…soooo…
Well, I wasn’t really invested in this idea anyway …sooo…
We dish these lines out like they are candy on Halloween.
The moment we come in contact with anything that we truly want, anything that makes us start shakin’ in our boots, anything that makes our hearts start to pound with excitement – we freak. We start to formulate the excuses that will buffer ourselves against the possibility of failure.
We can be afraid to put our name on our own work, afraid to say “This is my love, my life, my passion. THIS IS THE BEST I CAN DO AND I AM PROUD OF IT.”
Has this ever happened to you? Lord knows it used to happen to me.
I used to see it all the time back when I was acting .
Art is freakin’ hard.
You would get this colossal script, have 2 days to prepare for the role of your dreams, and the doubt would start to creep in. Can I do this? You would want the role SOOOO badly, so much it would make your teeth hurt just thinking about it. What if you throw yourself into it head first, give it all your heart and soul, and the role goes to someone else? That would be devastating. Then imagine harboring this dreadful feeling, all the while working some soul-sucking job, just trying to scrape by, so you can devastate yourself again and again and again.
So instead, it’s easier to procrastinate. It’s easier to binge on Breaking Bad and eat fudge-covered Oreos and act like the script was underdeveloped and not worth your time. It’s easier to half-ass your way through the audition, barely memorize the lines, and then KNOW it wasn’t your best work.
Because if you KNOW it isn’t your best work, there is room for improvement. You COULD have done better, but you didn’t feel like it this time. There is room for success at some later point in time, when you decide to show them what you REALLY got.
If you do your best work now, the very best that you can do, and you STILL don’t succeed? – well, that’s terrifying. That feels like there is no solution. That feels like there is no hope for success tomorrow.
I felt that way with Soultiply at the beginning.
When I wrote my first blog post, (Awwww, here it is! Ain’t it a cute little mess??) I was physically shaking I was so nervous to publish it and send it out into the world. Here I had this crazy idea to create this platform, to share my experiences on improvement and empowerment with the quirky dreamers out there just like me, but I still had this nagging little piece of doubt in my mind. What if people laugh and say, “ THIS is her life’s passion? This thing?! HA! HaHa in your face Brittany Ritcher!”
It’s scary when you put your name on something you’ve created.
And I think it boils down to this: When it comes to any type creative endeavor, everyone knows that you wouldn’t spend your precious time and energy creating something of zero value. By putting your name on it and sharing it with others, you are presenting a part of your soul and what feels like a part of your worth. And the chance of others opinions coming in and ripping that up, labeling it, judging it…well, that’s too much to handle. That’s why we shrink away from giving our all; we just don’t want to run the risk.
And that’s the feeling that has kept thousands of creative people around the world from accomplishing the incredible feats they have just growing inside of them.
But you – you are going to refuse to extinguish that fire. And here’s how you’ll do it.
Remember when you first fell in love with art?
Maybe it was the moment in school, when you had the liberty and the blissful time to immerse yourself in your work, when nap time was a scheduled part of your day, when consequences were for adults and creativity was a part of you that flowed freely like a fountain.
You are STILL that same person, only you are bigger and stronger and wiser now. That little girl or little boy will always be a part of you. It’s time to see your creations in a different light. It’s time to become what I like to call: An Actionable Creator .
How do you do this? Well, it’s actually quite simple – so don’t beat yourself up once you get the hang of it.
Begin to focus on the process of creating.
Sometimes it’s easy to lose touch with the reasons WHY we create. We all have busy lives…so why do we take the time to make art? What moves you to create that dance piece or to develop that character? What motivates you to pick up that clay and create your next masterpiece?
It could be a number of things.
For me, it’s the rush. It’s how time seems to melt away, like silky vanilla into a steaming cup of coffee. How I have to remind myself to eat because I’m so engrossed in my work, using the part of my brain that purely sparkles when it’s activated. My boyfriend can tell you, I can’t contain myself when I enter this zone. I will jump up and down and talk a mile a minute.
I’m not thinking about the reaction to my art, or what opportunities it might afford, or how much money it will create. I don’t depend on it and it doesn’t depend on me. I focus on the process and enjoy the process for what it is, and anything beyond that is purely extra .
And that’s the magic of it.
Because when you do this, auditions don’t become auditions – auditions become full-fledged moments of creative performance. No one is GIVING you anything – you are merely claiming that specific moment in time to create. You find yourself now using that audition to put on a show for yourself, and other people in the room can decide for themselves if they want to join you on your journey - you don’t require their companionship, but you are willing to share . And what they think about your art is none of your business, because you are an Actionable Creator.
That painting could hang out in a museum or hang out in a dumpster, and it don’t matta’ : it was created in just the same way.
And that’s when those worries of “When will I make it?” and “How much longer can I do this?” start to melt away.
Is your plan to stop singing once you become the next big recording artist? Do you plan on quitting when you get that first starring role?
I didn’t think so.
You will keep on doing what you love to do once you find success, right? So why place a timeline on yourself?! You can create your art now and you will create your art then. You have all the time in the world. Art is a journey, it is not a destination.
At the end of this month, it will have been two years since I chose to no longer pursue acting as a career .
And I will tell you, the seldom times I have acted since then have been an entirely different experience. I no longer feel the pressure of results or pleasing anyone but myself and my process. For the first time in YEARS, it’s fun again!
And the funny thing is, the results are unstoppable. In fact, I earned my SAG card after I gave up my career as an actor.
Incredible things can happen when you create from a place of love, no matter what. Art is like a wild tiger, it can smell your fear. Refuse to feed it the bait.
When you are an Actionable Creator, you shift from a results-oriented perspective, to a numbers-oriented one.
You want to see how often you can create, how often you CAN put your name on something and call it your own, because it makes you feel so damn good .
And you want to surprise yourself.
And sometimes the best way to surprise yourself is to see how hard you can fail.
I do this all the time. I’ll create something that I think is pure mush, something that makes me feel uneasy and afraid to call my own.
And in the past, I would have left that project sit there and collect dust in my closet, or I would have hung my head and pressed “backspace” until every single word erased itself and I was left with a lonely, blank screen.
But now, I’ll choose to share it anyways, because there’s just as much to learn from success as there is from failure.
And then later someone will tell me that particular piece shifted their perspective on their life, and I’m astounded. And to think that if I wouldn’t have shared it, just because I felt anxious of failing, that selfish moment of mine would have been a disservice to any single person who might have seen its value.
You might not be proud of all your creations and that’s okay .
You will start to learn what works and what doesn’t; you will start to find your personal style.
Because once you wipe away all the murky, yucky, cloudy dust of fear/doubt/worry, you are left with a clean slate. You are left with your authentic self, expressing through any medium that you choose. And that’s an exciting prospect that you will want to live again and again.
Outcome doesn’t matter – your entire focus is “What can I create next?”
Think about it – what could you create if there were no limits? You’ve eliminated the fear you might fall.
And that’s when you are proud to put your name on your work, no matter what the quality. You put your name on that experiment and you laugh and dissect it when it flops. You enjoy the flop for what it was worth and you start fervently working on the next one.
And so I have to ask, what’s something different you will do as an Actionable Creator? You can find my answer in the comments below, and I urge you to share yours as well.
I can’t wait to hear about all the art that will receive life, JUST because of a slight shift in your process!
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