Facing uncertainty and choosing positive stories

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connection

When faced with the uncertainty in artmaking, you may find yourself believing in the story that you’re not good enough. Jonathan Fields in How To Live a Good Life suggests “When we enter a place of uncertainty, we tend to start spinning stories that predict failure endlessly in our heads… consider a different story. One fuelled by possibility rather than defeat.” What if instead of believing you’re not creative, you chose the opposite story that you ARE creative? What if you took all the negative (and unhelpful) stories around your art and created opposite positive stories?

  • “My art is too messy, it’s bad” becomes “I love how free it feels to have a safe place be messy.”
  • “I can’t draw properly” becomes “I’m a beginner so it’s understandable I’m not an expert drawer yet: Practice over time builds confidence and skills.”
  • “I shouldn’t spend time on something that’s unproductive” becomes “I enjoy time spent making art so it is therefore valuable to me.”

You always have a choice about which version you pick. You also have the choice between uncertainty and certainty. David Bayles and Ted Orland in Art and Fear explain “In the end it all comes down to this: you have a choice (or more accurately a rolling tangle of choices) between giving your work your best shot and risking that it will not make you happy, or not giving it your best shot – and thereby guaranteeing that it will not make you happy. It becomes a choice between certainty and uncertainty. And curiously, uncertainty is the comforting choice.”

Choosing the uncertainty of art making is always a better option than the certainty of not making anything all.