Increase Confidence in Your Creative Abilities

mug on table

Building your artistic confidence seems so difficult, doesn’t it? However, having confidence in your abilities is crucial to getting your work seen, heard, requested, and purchased.

But let’s just start at the beginning. How do you build confidence before you feel ready to blast the world with your talents? It’s really not that hard. You build confidence doing what you love to do, refining your skill, sharing your knowledge with others, bringing like-minded souls into your circle, setting and completing small goals, and sharing your work with supportive people. Confidence is as confidence does. The more you become comfortable at being confident, the more you will give yourself permission to be confident. As you grow in your confidence you will be able to set high goals, take more creative risks, and promote your work to more people. 

Do what you do well—a lot!

I’m a big proponent of majoring in the majors. I don’t like to spend too much time working on things I’m not good at. Why is that? Because it takes away from the time I can use to work on things I’m great at! Another way to put this: strengthen your strengths.  Work on things you love. There is a good chance that the things you love to do, you are also good at. Working on thing you love provides the right amount of flow that keeps you going. it’s the oil that lubricates the hinges. Joy in what you do makes it easy and ease increases repetition; repetition increases skill, and skill increases confidence.  

When you work on things you don’t do well, it’s like climbing uphill. There are some benefits to climbing uphill. You’ll increase your endurance and stamina. But in what area? Wouldn’t it be better to increase your endurance and stamina in an activity you’re good at? Productivity produces volume and quantity. This is crucial when you are creating things to sell or promote. It’s good to have a large quantity of items to offer.  A large quantity of things signifies that you are passionate about your work. It signifies that you’re in the zone and that you are spending your creative energy in a profitable way. Not just monetarily profitable, but profitable for your soul. When you see all that you are able to produce from the things you do well, your confidence increases.

Take lessons

There is no cutting corners. Building creative skill means at some point you will have to invest in instruction, lessons, or courses. They can be free or they can be paid. But whether or not you invest money into building your skill, you will definitely invest your time.  Taking lessons help build up your foundation knowledge. Taking lessons shows investment in yourself. When you take the time to learn a new skill, you are showing that you value yourself and your personal growth. You can take lessons online or in person.  

Getting instruction form someone other than yourself gives you perspective. It gives you a measuring stick for where you currently are and how far you need to go. Taking lessons give you a point of comparison and helps you see your strengths and weaknesses. Taking lessons helps you be more objective about your work and helps you evaluate your work with a broader perspective.

Taking lessons is humbling because it shows you have no arrived. and you can always learn more. 
Taking lessons builds your confidence because is shows that you value yourself enough to invest in yourself. As you gain more and more skill in your area you will gain more confidence. You will learn things you’ve never known before and you will increase your knowledge base. 

Teach What You Know

Teaching what you know is always a great way to build confidence. Even if you’re a beginner, you know more than someone who is not familiar with your topic or creative skill. Taking what you know also helps to solidify your own sense of expertise and knowledge base. When you teach what you know, you become a valuable resource to others. You become someone else’s expert. This will boost your confidence.

Teaching what you know helps you organize your thoughts and develop systems and logic on your topic. How does this benefit the creative? Don’t creatives eschew logic and systems? When helping other people develop a skill it’s helpful to have logic and systems in place to help people navigate a productive and useful learning path. Most people learn better in a system, not a wandering here and there with no direction. Teaching what you know gives your creative thought structure and is beneficial to those who are starting from the beginning. 

Find Creative Kindred Spirits

Finding like-minded creative people can be a challenge for some of you depending upon your location, age, marital status, or even economic status. It is very important for you to find other creatives because creativity sparks creativity. Just like iron sharpens iron. Having other creative people around you will inspire you, challenge you, and help you to look at your own creativity in a fresh way. There’s a certain kinship that creative people can share, whether it’s discussing the creative process, lamenting the creative process, discovering new resources, sharing ideas and teaching and a whole host of other things non-creatives would have absolutely no clue about. Plus, it gives you support and validates that your creativity is important.

One of the ways to find more creative kindred spirits is to talk about your creativity with others. Then you can gauge their interest and if they are or would be suited to being your creative paramour, partner. 

Places to meet other creatives

Meet-up groups. Find a meet-up group or two that focuses on the type of creative activity you like to do. There are several art, crochet/knitting, painting, dance groups you can join. You can even find creative entrepreneur groups as well, as this niche is growing and becoming more popular. The trick is, you have to actually go to these groups to get any benefit and possibly meet anybody. You can just sign up Actually go to the meets and try them out until you find one that fits you and one where you can build the most positive and productive relationships.  or you can start your own!

Classes. Classes are another great place to meet other creatives. This can crossover with the meetup groups as some of the creative groups will also host workshops, classes, and crash courses to get you started in a particular art or skill. But also look into actual classes: dance, pottery, arty, design, cooking, language, etc. Parks and Recreation, your community college, arts and crafts chain stores, all have classes to offer. Look into Craigslist and Groupon as well for good deals for art classes.

First Fridays and art walks are a trendy way to see and appreciate art and also have a chance to talk to local artists in your area. If you are an art buff this will be a great way to meet other like-minded individuals and spark relationships, 

Join or volunteer at your local arts guild or association. Again, this all about making those connections. Sometimes these organizations also offer discounts on performances, classes, and other arts events. Plus you get in on the front end of whats going on in your area. You’ll never be out of the loop about different creative events, and your membership creates an instant affinity with other volunteers and enthusiasts. 

Set small creativity goals for yourself

It’s important to set small, achievable goals for yourself as you start on your journey to build confidence in your creativity. I have to admit that I am guilty of envisioning very large goals and biting off more than I can chew at times. I’m challenging myself to take a step back and work on smaller goals that I can complete in a reasonable amount of time. There is nothing better than setting a goal and achieving it. It boosts your confidence, shows yourself that you can achieve your goals, and usually, there’s an end product of some sort that you can reference serving as evidence that you did what you set out to accomplish indeed. 

Some examples of small goals:

  • Set up a Fiverr gig and complete 10 orders.
  • Write 500 words on you new fiction book every day.
  • Create and record a new 4 counts of choreography a day. Add it all together at the end of the month.
  • Sketch for 15 minutes a day.
  • Practice your musical instrument at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Work on 5 rows of your crochet or knitting project a day.

You can come up with your own small goals on your own depending upon your personal skills and goals. Make sure your small goals lead to the completion of your larger goals, or else the smaller ones will lack direction. It’s important to take these bite-sized actions if you are easily overwhelmed or don’t know where to start. Maybe you don’t do these things daily. You decide on the frequency. The advantage of developing your creative habit is that it will help you be more productive in the long run. But start with the frequency that works best for you. Maybe it’s every other night, or weekly. The point is that you commit to your creativity and complete your goals. 

Many times we discount the small goals because we think they are insignificant. We feel like we are not accomplishing anything unless it;s some big, lofty enterprise.  Working on small goals works for me because it helps me to scale down my expectations, and focus on maximizing the smaller tasks to it’s fullest. When you add it all up, achieving those smaller goals will accumulate to make a real impact on our larger vision. 

Show your work to supportive people

This is the scariest part of building confidence. Showing your work. Most of us are afraid to show our work because we are afraid of criticism. That’s why I say start off showing your work to supportive people. These are the kindred spirits you have intentionally connected with during your creative journey.

How do you know they are supportive? How will you know they are supportive? Examine how you feel after you share your work with them. Do you feel excited, exhilarated, eager to create more? Then this a supportive person. Find a few of them, and share your work with them until you feel ready to share your work with a larger audience. 

Share something small that you are not completely emotionally invested in. Then move up to more significant works as you build trust with that person. Supportive doesn’t always mean they will like everything you do. Rather they will offer a kind, helpful eye to your creative work and will encourage you to keep going, building, creating and sharing.

I think it goes without saying: stay away from scoffers or people who just don’t get it. You are trying to build your confidence. Those types of people will crush your motivation before you’ve even got started. Don’t try to convince people who are determined to be critical “for your own good” or whatever reason.

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