Fun a Day Reseda – Day 5: Create Your Own Measure of Success

Fun a Day Reseda -- Day 5“What if I’m not good at being an artist?”

This question has plagued many artists and caused a number of promising ones to give up. That’s because it’s not so much a question, but an accusation. It’s a question not about your work or even your ability, but whether or not you’re worthy of being an artist.

It’s a question we can’t avoid asking at some point in our creative career. We will have a painting we can’t sell, a bad review, or a bout of writer’s block that leaves us doubting ourselves. We also doubt ourselves when we try to meet an unrealistic measure of success. It may be imposed by others. (“You’re a writer, huh? How many books have you sold?”) Usually, we impose it on ourselves. (“If I don’t get my break before I’m 30, my career is over!”)

An antidote to doubt is to create your own measure of success. Perhaps you won’t be a New York Times bestselling author, but you can sell at least a few copies of your book and start building a fan base. Perhaps you won’t get a show at a major gallery, but you can present at a community show and start getting noticed. You may not get the part, but you can learn with each audition. Look for small victories and incremental growth.

Understand that “good” in the arts is a relative term in a subjective field. “Good” to a reader looking a something to download on her Kindle before a long flight isn’t the same “good” to a literary critic who judges everything against Faulkner. Your goal is to do your best work and seek growth with each project you do.

This is how an event like Fun a Day can help you. When you create something every day, you don’t have time to listen to your inner critic or worry about standards you might not be able to meet. You just create, and creating something becomes your measure of success. The small victory of creating something new each day helps you overcome your doubt. When you create, you are worthy of being an artist.