Failure? Persisting as an Artist

This quote by Samuel Becket has been surfacing lately, Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” This quote was first shared with me by my mentor and friend Stephen K. Levine during a time when I was feeling especially discouraged about my work. These days I am used to regular visits from doubt and fear – and a voice that says, ‘You are failing at this!’ or ‘You will fail’. I believe these voices are the result of a creative film venture I have embarked on. I am entering into unknown territory.

As a creativity coach and movement arts teacher, I work with many people who encounter blocks when they desire to be more creative in their work and life. There can be a misconception of art-making as easy or generally pleasurable. Yet, truth be told, it is inevitable when you are entering into an art process that you will encounter blocks and failure along the way. Failure can sound very negative, but we need to fall down, have doubts, and get discouraged at times. In order to succeed at anything worthwhile it takes time and we will experience rocky terrain. Things won’t go as planned and as a result fear and discomfort will surface.

I often tell my students and clients to expect the critical voices to be there when they are expanding and entering into new territory with their work. I have gotten accustomed to these voices accompanying me when I head out to teach, to write, to work on a creative project. I know that these disparaging voices will be present when I’m doing anything that gets me out of my comfort zone. I recently read a book by Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) called Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Gilbert shares a similar experience regarding fear. “Just because you don’t need your fear when it comes to creativity, of course, doesn’t mean your fear won’t show up…I made a decision a long time ago that if I want creativity in my life- and I do -then I will have to make space for fear, too.”

If you want to be more creative, the best way to success is through persistence and expecting fear, doubt and failure to arrive at different points along the way. I do believe that the people who inspire us the most have failed over and over again, but they did not let this stop them from continuing to work towards their vision. This is true resilience.

“You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true” – Richard Bach


Self-Published, May 2016