terrified if you do; terrified if you don’t

You have to wonder why it is that some people work hard to create something–a book or a work of art, let’s say–and to find an audience for that very thing, and then when confronted with this long desired crowd, end up terrified.  Like I don’t know if I publish something somebody–maybe just one, but somebody–is going to read it.  And if I make art and hang on a wall in a public space, somebody is going to see it.  Duh.  Why is it so bloody terrifying?

But storing it all away in the back of the closet is no comfort and is no less terrifying. Obviously I’m speaking for myself. Maybe you have no problem whatsoever handing over your written words or displaying your creative efforts, but even as I do these things, I feel sick.

In August in my favorite local coffee shop I’m going to have my first ever art show ever. For an entire month, my pictures will decorate their walls, and I am both excited and sure that I won’t be able to walk into the coffee shop for the duration. So, do you feel scared showing your work? And if you do, how do you work through it?

6 thoughts on “terrified if you do; terrified if you don’t

  1. Congrats on your first-ever art show! I’m sure it’ll go well.

    As to your question, I get scared, but less as time goes on. I usually apologize profusely for the work’s suckiness before showing it to family and friends. They know this is the ritual and play along.

    When submitting to professionals I forget till the rejection comes. When it does, I shrug, log it in my database, and throw it in the trash. That practice makes it feel more like a business than a personal endeavor.

  2. Congratulations on the art show!! That’s so exciting! I wish I could see it.

    I get really nervous too. I have read some work in front of people, and I just have to zone out when I do it and not think about people being there. Also, the fear has probably kept me from reading my work in public more often. Sending out submissions doesn’t bother me because I’m not there when somebody reads it (or throws it in the slush pile). Coincidently, I have thought about this issue in regards to blogging. I have been surprised that when I blog, I get really nervous whenever I push the “publish” button. I didn’t think I’d feel that way about blogging, but I do. I guess because I get such an immediate response, and I wonder if people will like what I write, and why would people want to read what I write?. However, I blog anyway, and I find that it is helping me overcome my fear. After all, if I want to write, I just gotta do it and put it out there.

  3. Marta,
    Thanks for commenting on my rejoicing in rejection post for the Eliot blog. I think what you write about here is related to similar issues. How marvelous that you have a comittment to show work in 2008. I love having my work up and take it as a time to study it and go deeper into it. The show is for you and for your growth as an artist as much as for anything else.

    Janet Riehl

  4. lazym

    Hum. Erk. Well. As one who has a surprise! show at the same coffee shop in JUNE, I would like to say that I am equally terrified. I started out years ago as a serious artist , got tired of spider soup, got a “real job,” lost sight of my true self and am stumbling and staggering toward… what?

    Still, to proceed from an off-the-cuff submission (months and months ago) for a show that I didn’t ever expect to turn into anything, to suddenly hear last Tuesday night- “How’s your art coming? You have a show here in June.” is seriously freaking me out!

    The thing is, when It was my career, and I was making art all the time, I wasn’t afraid. I was commited to my work. I dared anyone to judge me, or to say what I did wasn’t art. I had awards! I had sales!

    Now, since I’ve fallen away from it, I feel like a poseur. I had some moxie when I was younger. I did things that were different and I dared other people to judge it. I wish I knew where that girl went! I am seriously afraid… Less of people judging me than of my ability to carry it off…

    As for you, my dear. If having your art up in a public place is too weird, there are two other rooms you can sit in. And other coffee shops – ummm – Alamocha at Texspresso… AND you should not worry so much. Because your work is graceful and lovely. And so are you.

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