Overcoming Self Doubt: Advice for Artists | Design & Illustration | Brighton

6 steps to tackle the prickly feeling of self doubt

Overcoming Self Doubt: Advice for Artists | Design & Illustration | Brighton

Self Doubt. It’s shitty.
It’s a creativity killer. But it’s also an inevitable part of life.
For artists, makers, photographers and creatives,  it goes with the territory. And I’ve definitely had my fair share.

Just before Christmas I had a massive bout of self doubt. Like getting tangled in a fishing net, it got hold of me and dragged me down. I lost my energy, my enthusiasm, my joie de vivre. I questioned everything I did. Everything felt pants, to be frank! My daily internal narrative was telling me I was no good, there were other people far better than me and nothing I was doing was particularly original or interesting.

I needed to cut myself free.

I’m not giving you the answers to overcoming self doubt. This isn’t one of those fluffy posts telling you how to break free of self confidence issues or self doubt, whilst arming you with the tools to inner peace and contentment. Nope. Sorry.

6 steps to tackle the prickly feeling of self doubt

Instead I’m sharing how I deal with it. I’m on the other-side of this big bout of self doubt and lack of self confidence, but I’ll never be 100% free. Here’s how I’ve dealt with my 4,125,333rd episode.

  1. Accept – I’ll never be free of self doubt. Unless you’re some kind of zen master, I think this is pretty much the same for all human beings. It’s a side-effect of our egocentric ways.
  2. No Social – I stepped away from social media. This is my number one driver of traffic and potential work. However, it is also where I experience the most amount of jealousy, the feelings of not being good enough. Particularly on Instagram. (Especially since that darn algorithm change but that’s another post.)
  3. Get Out – I got active. I’ve been walking, running and stretching as much as possible. I put my favourite tunes on and danced my little booty off. It’s amazing the boost of endorphines you experience when you pop on a cracking tune. I grabbed my imaginary microphone and boogied with the kids around the kitchen. This stopped me worrying instantaneously. Magic.
  4. Stop Work – I stopped working on my creative projects. It was Christmas which really helped because I set about tidying, organising and decorating instead. I’m also now learning to play the piano which is great for time out and being present, simply in the moment and on the task at hand.
  5. Declutter – I de-cluttered the house, my studio and my wardrobe. All that ‘stuff’ – it’s not only physical clutter it is mental clutter too. When the voice of self doubt enters, you need to have a clear mind in order to handle it effectively. Have a clear out.
  6. Moodboard – I made a moodboard of my favourite work. This process was brilliant. It’s really helped me reevaluate my direction as well as appreciate my more successful artworks.. In addition to this I’ve written down all of the projects I haven’t enjoyed and ultimately I didn’t feel were good enough. I realised I need to change a few things in my creative marketing plan as a result. A very useful process.

Moodboard dressed | Overcoming Self Doubt | Design & Illustration | Brighton

Basically these 6 steps to tackle the prickly feeling of self doubt, make you concentrate on something else. Whilst also appreciating the good stuff like dancing with your kids.

I took a week off, but taking half an hour out to do some of these things can have the desired effect of shutting the voice of self doubt up.

That niggling voice actually has it’s benefits too.

That voice doesn’t always have to be negative. This voice tells you when something you’re working on needs a little more adjusting. When I’m creative, its a feeling that tells me my work needs a change of colour here, or a slightly different composition there. It’s when you turn that voice against YOURSELF, that it becomes negative.

Overcoming self doubt and lack of self confidence is a practice I accept is something I’ll always be learning to master. However I won’t let the voice of self doubt stop me from my creative calling.

I’d love to know how you tackle self doubt or lack of confidence so feel free to leave a comment below.

Have an inspired day

Georgie x

Comments 17

  1. Loved your share on how you deal with self-doubt! Really appreciate it. For me when it comes to self-doubt (ugh, just the thought of it is disturbing) , I hate every single part of it but I kind of just be there with it. I let it insecure me, nervewreck me to the bottom, then, although it feels like it’s never gonna end, it lets me go. Something that just blows all doubt away in a jiffy is talking to my grandparents. They are so funny every doubt is forgotten. But since they are far and talking on the phone with them is not always an option I do let self-doubt get to me..I think it could be a personality thing but I just think avoiding it makes me fear it more..? Anyways as I let it get to me in the meantime, I try my hardest best to focus on what I need and want and do that, be it eating a particular food that I make (which really does the trick most of the time), listening to music, having alone space, watching a certain tv show or movie, reading, photo browsing, taking a shower, trimming my bangs, cleaning or sleeping.
    Wishing us all the best, I think we are getting better every time. For real. Thanks for the share!

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      Author

      A shower – that’s a great idea! I always find I have great ideas in the shower too. I’m pleased you have your Grandparents to talk things through with. And I’m sure you are doing a great job, don’t be hard on yourself! I would highly recommend moodboarding – it’s so therapeutic and really helps clear and focus the mind. Thank you for stopping by my blog with your lovely comments 🙂 xx

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      Author

      I’m really glad it’s helped. Great to hear you found me through Instagram. It’s such a brilliant platform for discovering people. Good luck with your own creative pursuits xx

  2. Oh yes, I know the feeling. There is always that question of why some people can achieve so much by doing so little and here I am, doing all that I am supposed to do with a hundred percent commitment and yet not get where I want to be. You wish you could self destruct. But hey, you then go for a walk and do something totally different and suddenly you feel it’s not that bad… We are all too hard on ourselves, and why do we need other’s approval and recognition? Be strong, be brace and most of all, be yourself.

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      Author

      Hi Nicole. Thank you for your comment. I really understand your feelings. I bet the majority of those people who are successful have had a hard journey at some point! The gloss of social media can often make it seem like people are effortlessly living the dream, but behind the scenes it’s far from that. Stay positive. If you are doing all of the right things, your fortune will come. I’m sure of it. Big hugs xx

  3. Really good post…thank you. I’m glad you basically put it in a nutshell. I can go back to it again and re-read. I had a look at your Instagram. Absolutely beautiful images.

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      Author

      Thank you Pink 🙂 I hope it has helped. It was very useful writing about my feelings of self doubt. So many of us seem to suffer from it but don’t talk about it much. Stay strong and positive. And thank you for your kind words about my Instagram feed. xx

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  4. Oh I love the idea of making a moodboard of your favourite work! I am definitely going to be doing this, rather than constantly be looking at dream boards of other people’s inspirational work. Thanks for the idea!

    I am totally the same with stepping back from social media when I start feeling like this. It is good to know that however successful you are, you still feel like this and it is something you have to just accept. I think of it as like a right of passage to being a creative person!

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      Author

      I like your idea of it being a right of passage. And Oh my word, your photography is GORGEOUS. Never doubt yourself. Make a moodboard to remind yourself how good you are! xx

  5. Great post Georgie. Stepping away from social media is the most helpful thing I do I think – as well as getting outdoors and doing something entirely different until the ideas and love comes back. And decluttering is so therapeutic too. I’ve just had a sort out of my workspace and put some inspiration on the walls and it feels so much better. It’s definitely part of the creative process! xxx

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      Author

      Hi Zoë, I’m glad I’m not alone in finding it useful to step away from social media and out into the real world. I’ve also found the moodboarding particularly useful in trying to beat the blues! Definitely give it a go. X

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  6. I found your honesty very refreshing. I do have feelings of jealousy when I am looking on Instagram and even other social media sites can bring up other emotions for me. I have wanted to step away completely and forever because these feelings can be overwhelming. I have to remember what I’ve learned as I’ve grown up: you can’t compare insides to outsides. You just shared what’s inside, and I’m sharing the same with you. But mostly on social media we just see the outside or what the camera/ person posting wants us to see. I recently have come back to social media because I have something I’d like to share. Your writing about self-doubt was a very welcome read. Thanks.

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      Author

      I’m really pleased this post has helped. Why do we doubt ourselves so much?! Like you, I’m definitely understanding it more as I get older though. And you’re so right about social media but I’m glad you have returned to it and feel you have something to share with the world. Enjoy it! xx

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