The wavering confidence of an artist

It’s the same with any project that an artist creates. You start with a simple but exciting idea. The next few days are a whirlwind of excitement as you share ideas with friends and receive nothing but uninhibited encouragement.

“I know, I’ll make a blog. This is definitely a great idea.” Jack Stark, two weeks ago.

Then the time comes, you have done all the admin you need and it’s time to put pen to paper. Suddenly you realise that nothing is as simple as the original idea and your project seems like an unclimbable mountain in front of you.

The process is the same whatever it is you are working on; a book, a play, a painting and – in my case – any attempts at baking. (I have three times in the past two years tried to bake an apology cake, only to have ended up with something else to apologise for.)

The weird thing is, when we make a success of something, we never remember that this is how we felt at the beginning. Successes are always viewed with rose-tinted glasses. “It was such hard work,” we say “but I loved every minute of it”. We are all terrible liars.

liar photo
Photo by Alan Cleaver 

Part of the problem is that we don’t often see people’s floundering first attempts at things. We spend most of our time looking at things that are already successful, having been blissfully unaware of the early grass roots days. If you read any internet comics, I challenge you to go to your favourite comic and look back at their first few posts. I bet it will be almost unrecognisable.

I never thought I’d quote a motivational speaker, but this struck a chord. Jon Acuff famously said “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

Dont compare your beginning to someone else's middle

Wow. That is exactly what we all need to hear. This is my first blog post and – just like with my attempts at making cakes – from now on things will only go up.

So when you’re feeling a little down about how your projects look compared to other people’s, remember that this was what the Google homepage looked like in 1998.

google1998

 

OK, so it doesn’t look that much more exciting these days, but that’s not my point! Things have changed. Enormously.

Earlier this month, I decided I wanted to go fossil hunting, fuelled on by the dream that I will discover my very own dinosaur bone to display on my wall.

fossil hunting photo

Photo by emf1947

That was my dream.

This is my reality:

dino1

Wait, here it is closer …

dino2

OK. So it wasn’t really what I was originally dreaming of. In fact, it’s about as far away as possible. But this is a fossil. My first ever fossil. A fossil that I found on the inside of a piece of sedimentary rock. It is around 98 million years old. And now it is resting on my finger in my living room, having been encased in rock for all of those 98 millions years until I came along with a hammer and some safety goggles.

Of this tiny spec of rock … I am proud.  And rightly so. This is my beginning and I am not going to compare it to someone else’s giant tyrannosaurus rex femur.

So this time next year, I will have a blog to be proud of. And whatever it is you are starting work on, be proud of that too for where it is at your stage of the process.

Let’s make a deal, you support me in this blog by telling me what bits you like and what you don’t like. And in return I promise not to inflict any of my baking attempts on you. For now.

All the best for whatever it is you are doing,

Jack Stark

 

Main Photo by G.iulina

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Author: Jack Stark

Jack is a full time professional idiot from London, UK. Trained in mime and clown, he performs around the world in cabaret, variety and theatre projects, primarily as his alter ego Kiki Lovechild. He loves what he does.

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2 Comments

    • Certainly! I think most artists have this problem. Sometimes it means I am working on ideas I had 5 years previously. Maybe I’ll write more on this topic later.

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