The Inner Artistic Struggle We All Fight

green and white leafed plantsIt’s easy to look at a work of art created by a master and think that it was so easy for them to create. It often seems that when when we watch a master work, it even looks easy.

It’s no wonder that many of us become discouraged by this thinking and doubt starts to enter our minds. You may think, “it’s not easy for me, so I’ll never be able to reach this level of skill.”

Although some accomplished artists will never discuss this or admit it, the truth is that art is a struggle – for everyone. It doesn’t matter your skill level.

The Inner Struggle of Creating

Every work does and should include a bit of a struggle. It is never “easy”, nor should it ever be. Although the finished work may look “effortless”, it never is.

If we succumb to the thinking that artistic skill is a talent that is somehow “effortless” for some, we also start to believe that if it is a struggle for us, then we are somehow lacking.

“The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph” – Swami Sivananda

I have never created a work that didn’t include a battle with my own doubt. I am constantly questioning my decisions throughout the work. It is an inner conflict of thought and execution.

This doesn’t mean that I am lacking confidence in what I am producing. It’s just part of the process. And again, every artist goes through this, in every work of art.

It is the struggle of production that ultimately leads to the satisfaction that many of us love about creating. The artifact that is produced becomes a record of our victory. The satisfaction that comes during art production is often the result of small battles won – commanding the material and speaking from our soul. This may be one of the reasons that we become so attached to what we create.

Struggling is part of it. You should expect it and embrace it.

Don’t Give Up

The unfortunate truth is that too many new artists lose the inner battle. They allow their thoughts of doubt to stifle their art and their development of skill. Over time, they simply give up.

But if we know that struggling is part of creating art, we can cope with it when it comes. And instead of giving up, we face the battle and may even find enjoyment in it.

Sure, not every work will be a success and not every decision will be perfect. But art is not about perfection and success is only earned after failure. The only true failure is giving up.

How to Win the Battle

So, how do we overcome the doubt? How do we recover when we think we have made a irreversible mistake?

The answer is simple. We learn from our mistakes, continue to grow, and keep producing. With each work, we become stronger. We continue to work through the voice of apprehension. And although the doubts will never be silenced completely, they will become quieter with experience.

Knowing that your struggles are normal and experienced by other artists means that you are not alone.

Take comfort in knowing that even the greatest artists fight off feelings of doubt and inadequacies from time to time.

Accomplishments are Born From Struggle

No accomplishment, no matter if be art-related or not, is without its struggle. If it were easy, then it wouldn’t be a significant accomplishment. Therefore, it is the overcoming of adversities that often lead to our greatest accomplishments. Each work that we produce is an accomplishment.

Think of the things in life in which you are most proud, your accomplishments and achievements. I’ll argue that none of them came without a struggle.

Your Thoughts

So, how do you feel about your art? Do you fight those feelings of doubt? Are they overwhelming at times? I’d love to hear your perspective. How do you cope and work through? How do you win the battle? Let me know in the comments below.

Leave a Comment