One of the things I like most about being a designer at a PR agency is letting creative work be the core purpose of my life. Art and creativity force me to confront a false illusion of perfection in my work. I could be drawing in my bedroom or creating a graphic for a client at the office; regardless of the scene, new projects scare me.
I started to ask myself why I felt this enormous pressure whenever I began a graphic for a client. As a kid, I drew faces disproportionate to bodies and houses that floated above lime green lawns. Nothing I drew made sense, but it didn’t matter. I created with fearless wonder. If only I had carried the same freedom into my adulthood, I wouldn’t find myself so intimidated at the thought of starting something new and different.
Whether you’re a publicist or designer, there are moments of self-doubt when you take on a new client or project – the little voice that says “I could never create something like that.” We have a tendency to forget that every approach we take is entirely individual and unique. The real reason starting any project comes hand-in-hand with immense fear, is because it means opening yourself up to the possibility of having your work judged. The first step towards creating anything is accepting your ideas will always be unique. Have the courage to follow through and present your work, even if it’s an unconventional approach.
David Boyles brought this lesson home in his book Art and Fear,
“Fears about artmaking fall into two families: fears about yourself and fears about your reception by others … In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive.”
Through this realization, I’ve come to believe we’re all born artists. Accountants, scientists and even publicists, we’re all artists first. But how do we silence the voices that tell us doing great work is a path meant only for creative geniuses?
Think back to the time you wrote the best pitch of your life. What was the hardest part of writing that pitch? The first sentence. Once you wrote that, everything had to flow seamlessly from it. The same challenge presents itself when designing. Everything you create must come from putting pen to paper and jotting down some ideas. So as we begin any project, whether it’s writing a crucial pitch or designing a graphic for a client, we can’t let ourselves be crippled by the thought of it not being great. You can revise an image you’re not happy with, you can edit rough copy, but you can’t do anything with a blank page.
Accept that your work will never be perfect, and neither will you. Strive to push yourself past the fears. JUST START.