Want to know how to get your gleam on? Expose yourself.
Exposure completes the communication cycle of art. It is a primal human instinct to want to leave your mark, to say, “I was here.” This need to share our creations starts early. Who hasn’t run up to their mom or teacher exclaiming, “Look what I made.” (Isn’t that why refrigerator magnets were created?)
And then something happens. We start to hide our art, or worse yet, we stop making it altogether. I’m not going to go into all the reasons why this happens. We all know that comparison is a dangerous thing.
What I want to focus on here today are the benefits of risking exposure. It’s a scary thing to screw up your nerve and show your art to someone else, especially if it’s something you’ve just started doing again after a decade long hiatus. But it is a necessary action if we want to complete the cycle of communication.
That very act of creating again, after all these years, is a testament to your need to make your mark. You’ve already overcome the biggest private hurdle because you were brave enough to begin again. Congratulate yourself!
Today, I want to let you know all the good things that happen when you do take the risk, just as so many did when they submitted their art for consideration for both the first and next, November 2014, edition of Quotes Illustrated.
Many of the over 200 artists who submitted their work wrote to me about their experience and the insight they gained by overcoming that fear. Arlene Holtz was working with a quote that truly summed up her experience:
“My quote, “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” turned out to be rather prophetic for me! I experienced some fear and doubt while coming up with an idea and the subsequent painting efforts I did. I FELT over my head and worried that what I would come up with wouldn’t be “good enough” for publication. In the end the quote itself really helped me get over the hurdle and just do it, regardless of whether it gets selected or not. At least now I have a better idea about “how tall I am“. Thank you T S Eliot and Lesley for this lesson and opportunity to grow!”
Failure is only failure when it doesn’t move you forward says Jonathan Fields. So true, so true. The act of trying and failing has built-in rewards that one can never experience any other way. (Tweet this!) So many artists wrote to tell me how scary it was to follow through with their commitment to me. What they ended up with was a commitment to themselves and the pride that comes from trying and completing something that scares them. They got their gleam on.
1. Some gave up early on and never finished any artwork.
2. Some completed a piece of artwork but never submitted it.
3. The brave ones submitted their work even though they may have felt it wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. And yes, many didn’t make it in to the book, but they tried. (There were only 30 spots and 200+ entries)
Groups one and two rejected themselves.
Group three gained the most from the experience.
How tall are you?
How tall do you want to be? Let me know. I love hearing your comments and insight.
Quote on Fragment: Wherever you are is always the right place. There is never a need to fix anything, to hitch up the bootstraps of the soul and start at some higher place. Start right where you are. Julia Cameron