5 Excuses Artists Make to Avoid Creating

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Are you making them right now?

Making art can be one of the most fulfilling ways to spend your time. For me, creating gives me peace, a sense of accomplishment, access to a flow state of being, and a fun way to make a mess. Though, it can also bring with it loads of frustration and struggle, because it’s not always easy to bring our artistic visions to life.

This is why it can be really tempting at times to make excuses to not create art, which then saves us from the pain of creating. Have you been there?

I know I have.

I have walked away from my art numerous times. I’ve made a lot of excuses over the years, but here are 5 excuses I, and many other artists, have used to walk away from creating. None of these are viable excuses, and after reading this I encourage you to stop yourself from using them in the future.

1. “I’m not an artist.”

I vividly remember sitting down with one of my English professors in 2012, and telling him “I’m not an artist” when he asked me to create work for a new textbook he was writing for the English department.

I wanted to make art. I loved to create. I took a crap ton of art classes in high school and college, and yet the little voice in my head kept saying “You’re not an artist.” Why? Because making art is fricken hard and failure in many forms is inevitable. I was terrified the work I produced would suck, so I made an excuse to get out of it.

You can’t let “I’m not an artist” be your excuse to walk away from creating, because that title belongs to anyone who creates. It’s not bestowed upon you by a school, an expert, an employer, or your mom. If you make art (any and all definitions of it), you’re an artist. Even if you just make art for fun, you’re an artist. So cross that excuse off your list.

2. “I’m not good at Art.”

I tried playing Dance Dance Revolution for the first time at an arcade a few weeks ago, and wow was I bad at that. Does that mean I’m bad at dancing? I mean–maybe. Does that mean I should never ever try it again, because since I sucked at it the first time I’m always going to suck? Absolutely not!

You can suck at something, but love the process so much that it doesn’t matter. You can also suck at something right now, and become a master of that same something in the future, because you keep powering through painful practice sessions. You have to give yourself the opportunity to grow. I know it feels unpleasant, but even if what you make is hideous and technically terrible right now, it’s not a good excuse to stop yourself from creating. It’s actually the perfect reason to create more.

Who cares if you are good or bad at art. Make art anyway.

3. “I won’t succeed.”

I have said this to myself too many times to count. I’d think about a cool image I wanted to create, and then I’d start evaluating the point of even trying to make to create it when I’d remember there’s a possibility of failing. What if it’s ugly? What if nobody likes it? I deprived myself of valuable experiences thanks to the mere thought of the end result not being what I wanted.

Maybe it never turns into a career. Maybe you don’t make money or win awards. Maybe nobody wants to buy it. Maybe a whole bunch of things, but how will you know if you don’t try? How will you see your own potential if you don’t show up and do the work? How will you push your limits if you don’t find out where they are in the first place?

This is an excuse that I know a lot of us use to prevent ourselves from creating. What’s the point, right? If I’m going to fail, why not avoid that potential failure by not even starting the project? Easy, right?! Except when you finally see that the end result doesn’t matter right now. All that matters is that you have a creative vision, and you must try to bring it to life.

4. “There are more talented creators out there.”

Yeah, so?

There will always be artists with more skill or success than you, but that doesn’t mean you have to make it into a competition. You do not need to measure your worth against another artist. There will always be room for your art in the world. We are all using the same tools and being inspired by the same subjects and experiences, yet we all have a voice to add to the conversation.

Do your thing. There isn’t another you out there.

5. “I don’t have The Right Supplies.”

Art supplies can be ridiculously expensive. I get that money can limit us sometimes. And when companies use labels like “academic”, “student grade”, “intermediate”, and “professional” it’s no surprise that a lot of artists have it in their heads that you need the good stuff in order to make good art. Well, I’m here to say this isn’t true and not having the “right” supplies shouldn’t prevent you from creating.

You can make high quality art with cheap supplies. Go ahead and look at the top posts using #ballpointpendrawing on Insta. The right supplies are just supplies that can be used to make art. That can literally be anything around you. I’m not saying the good stuff isn’t worth investing in down the road, but I am saying that you can substitute a functionally equivalent product with a much cheaper price right now to get started.

So go get yourself a cheap back of Bic pens and any surface to create on. Cardboard, printer paper, old book pages. Or make collages out of junk mail. Find objects on the street and make sculptures. Your creativity is limitless. The world is full of supplies.

***

Creating art is a wonderful activity, but it’s not always easy. I hope this post has helped give you a bit of encouragement to push through! With anything in life, we are tempted to make excuses to avoid unpleasant work while also sacrificing the benefits that come with it. So what do you think? Have you used any of these excuses before? Or do you have excuses of your own?

Please leave questions and comments below while commenting is open or reach out to me directly through Instagram or email. I’d love to hear from you! And make sure to sign up for my email list below to never miss a blog post. New posts are published every Tuesday.

-Kelly

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4 thoughts on “5 Excuses Artists Make to Avoid Creating”

  1. I will put this on my wall! Exactly what I needed today! And probably some other day.
    Thank you!

  2. It seems like artists of all kinds tend to trap themselves with a fixed mindset about the world. Teach people how to break free Kelly! Great article!

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