tips for growing creative confidence

Confidence is a funny thing when it comes to our creativity. It can be elusive, fleeting - difficult to hold onto. We can so easily doubt the things we create - particularly when it comes to sharing them with others. 

And yet, through confidence we can discover a greater sense of joy in making things; and possibly more than that - we can use that feeling to empower us in other areas of our lives. It helps to instil in us a sense of worthiness, of optimism, of tangible progress.

is your inner critic having too much say?

The inner critic.

We see so much wonderful creativity online and out in the world already. On a good day this lifts us up, gives us inspiration and helps to motivate us to keep making our own stuff. But if your confidence is feeling shaky already - it can lead to unhelpful feelings of comparison and self doubt. 

If you need to, protect yourself from these feelings by being mindful of the ways you consume other peoples art. Take a break from it (instagram, pinterest - everything), look inwards instead of outwards, and take a little of the pressure off your creativity. 

Telling yourself that someone else can do something you can't - that their art is somehow better or more accomplished than yours - is your brain's way of keeping yourself small. It's your job to train that inner critic to keep quiet.

Watch your language - there's a difference between being self deprecating and just plain old self critical, and in telling other people you 'can't draw' (for example), you're telling yourself that too. Try changing the way you talk (and eventually, think) about yourself by using more emotive qualifications - that you 'love to draw, because you find it relaxing and expressive', rather than making a judgement statement about it.

embrace your own creative style

Confidence is attractive.

There's a reason we're drawn to certain creatives - some of the time it's talent, but most of the time it's confidence (or the appearance of it). 

A distinctive, personal drawing style, inhabited with absolute conviction is a million times more compelling that a doubt-filled and under confident attempt at a photo-realistic style.

To put it bluntly, it doesn't matter if you can't draw things the way someone else can - it matters that you draw it your way, with confidence that your work has value and meaning, even if it looks a bit weird. In fact, the weirder the better - art is supposed to be personal!

use encouragement to help other peoples confidence

Inviting Confidence.

Faking the appearance of confidence can be a good way to begin the process of quietening your inner critic. Just as you can train yourself to reduce self-criticism, you can also train a little self praise and encouragement. 

Share your work like you love it, keep on creating and developing your skills, and work on weeding out the negative voices. 

While you're at it, invoke a little good karma by sharing encouragement abundantly wherever you can. You never know when someone else's confidence is in need of a little boost, and your instagram comment, retweet, or etsy shop purchase could really help another creative out.