I Was 15 Years Old When I Failed As An Artist

Yup, I was 15 years old when I failed as an artist. I had a creative idea and the best intentions to follow through. …But I just didn’t.

What I did do is make up a reason why. “I can’t count on myself to come through” is what I decided. And it became a cosmic fact, which was as true to me as the sky is blue.

I was a smart kid, and I had been able to keep some promises to others, so I saw the loophole which became the solution to my problem:
“…partner with someone else and I am more likely to succeed.”

My strategy became to seek out people with similar interests, and get behind their ideas. I may not get what I want, but I could have something pretty close.

The good news was that my strategy worked pretty well, and made me a good backup musician and freelance graphic designer working for others.

The bad news is that I still felt that I couldn’t count on myself to come through when no one else was involved. After years of thinking this way, I continue to have a hard time being decisive without someone else’s blessing. Even though the 15 year old kid who originally decided that he was unreliable to himself is a distant memory now, I’m still thinking like I am that kid.

It always seems impossible until it is done

How can I be that kid who is sure he can’t count on himself, and just do the things I need to do anyway? I don’t have an answer. I suspect all there is to do is notice these thoughts and just keep moving forward.

The Creativity Meets Productivity conversation I’m initiating  is about becoming prolific. Being the kind of artist that has work spill out of them at a rate that is incomprehensible to most. That’s what I want. The first thing for me to deal with is all the reasons that I can’t be that artist, starting with the voice in my head saying, “I can’t count on myself to come through.”

I want to know

If you relate, please leave a comment below. Tell me about your 15 year old self, what he or she decided, and how that decision affects your creative output today.

Author: Peter Benes

Ui Designer and Songwriter in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada

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