March 1, 2013

Work In Progress

Since January I have cut back drastically on the amount that I am working for other people. I spend a day or two each week at a local bakery but the rest of the days are for me to use as I wish. I try to use them as wisely as possible and I have the to-do lists to prove it. I also have the hours of dreaming, scribbling, stitching, writing. The moments when an idea goes from a random seed to a sprout to a viable growing thing and the satisfaction that these breakthroughs bring.

I am lucky that I have the chance to try and do something but I am surprised by how little of what I want to do gets done and how easily things can get pushed off to the side. Often this is a result of uncertainty, fear, lack of confidence. Not so much in my ability to do things but in the shadows of doubts that creep in and make me wonder if this is ever going to work. Realizing just how tiny my voice is in this crowded sea of creative, beautiful, and inspiring work is daunting. Not knowing if I have what it takes to make a living from my creative work feels like walking along the edge of a cliff, uncertain if I will get where I want to be or if I am teetering too close and might fall.

I was inspired by this quote from Julian Fellowes, the writer of Downton Abbey, that Sarah shared  in a recent post (check out Sarah's blog, too, it is beautiful and delicious) and it really resonated with me so I wanted to share it.

I’m always a bit nervous about speaking as someone who is successful, but I suppose I’m allowed to. Actually, tenacity is the quality that you cannot do without. I’ve known very talented people who do well and I’ve known very talented people who do badly, and I’ve known not very talented people who do well or badly. The one quality that all the ones who do well have is tenacity. They just don’t give in, and they keep plugging away.

There are moments when you do feel very desperate. You just think nobody is ever going to respond to your work, that it’s never going to happen. And somehow you just have to push through that whether you do it with a big whiskey, or taking a day off, or whatever. You have to push through that sense of not being valued...I think the danger for the young is that they lose faith in the quality that their work has. And yet, that nugget – whatever it is – that is the nugget that will make it happen if they are to be successful. I mean, it’s easy to say, and it’s hard to follow through, but again it comes back to having belief in yourself.  -Julian Fellowes

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