In the book The Artist’s Way Every Day, author Julia Cameron talked about those moments of self-doubt when we are almost finished with our project, and just before launch, that self-critical voice ambushes you and does that thing it always does:
A critical failure of nerve at the last moment causes us to doubt the worthiness of projects we have birthed. Novels go into desk drawers. Plays languish on shelves. The pumpkin rots on the vine. How can we go forward from here? We must believe, first of all, in the worth of our brainchildren. We must not abandon them. We must keep them a priority. Faced with rejection, we must keep trying. At root, it comes back to being a matter of faith. We must see our work as divine in origin. We must believe there is a divine path of goodness ahead in its unfolding. When we are rejected, we must ask, “What next?” and not, “Why me?”
This voice of self-doubt rears its ugly head all the time, just when I finish my rough MVP of a project. This is bad. It doesn't yet do all the stuff I want it to do. And before putting it on public domain, that voice said:
“This is shit. Don’t embarrass yourself by putting it out in public.”
And true enough, that self doubt would creep into how I shared and talked about it. I would be shy about sharing it, and ashamed of what it couldn’t yet do. And in typical self-fulfilling vicious cycle, the reception to the project will be cold. That would go on to make me question myself even further: did I waste a month of my time making something no one needs? Maybe I should do something else…
But reading that passage in The Artist’s Way Every Day was encouraging. That perhaps we all have that tendency to lose our nerve when we’re putting all of ourselves into something - our strengths and also all of our weakness, our vulnerabilities.
And these moments of self-doubt are part of the ride. They are an important filtering process for testing if you have real faith in what you are doing. If you didn’t, then great, don’t waste your time and go on to another. If you did, then even better, you know your heart is right and you know what you have to do next.
OK, what's next?
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