Daily Prompt: Substandard

One of the difficulties inherent in growing up always feeling ‘not good enough’ is that you can all too easily become too much of a perfectionist at heart, terrified of showing any less-than-excellent artistic by-product of your all-too sub-standard self. The risk of public failure feels too much to bear to the extent that sooner or later you might even stop trying – because if you don’t try (or so your reasoning tells you) you can’t possibly fail, and avoiding failure seems to be a far safer bet when it comes to a motivating factor than attempting the fragile futility of scoring success on a first attempt.

For years I wrote poetry I squirreled away in secret, showing no-one, and spent ages day-dreaming of being some kind of a creative visual artist avidly exploring the joys of drawing, painting, photography, needlework. But as I would never be good enough (or so I repeatedly told myself), what was the point of pursuing anything seriously? So instead I dabbled half-heartedly, frustrated, convincing myself I was absolutely fine paddling around in the shallows, pretending to myself it wasn’t that I was just too afraid to take the plunge and dive in deep…

And then soon after turning 50 I started blogging, and began sharing some of my ‘best’ photographs and poetry oh-so-very tentatively at first, images and words shyly declaring themselves apologetically as if with a discreet little throat-clearing cough. To my surprise and delight, people responded enthusiatically, so I tried regularly sharing some relatively incomplete creative experiences, decidedly unpolished works-in-progress still in the process of struggling onwards and upwards on a steep learning-curve.

And through not being so afraid to put myself out there I found I’ve improved as I’ve gone along in a decidedly trial-and-error hap-hazard process of playing around until I finally get it right, and it feels great. So now I’m ok sharing my sub-standard stuff, because after all everyone has to start somewhere, and you’re never to old to learn. And one lesson I’m learning loud and clear is that you don’t fail by falling down, but by not getting back up and trying again, time after time, for as long as it takes to get to where you ultimately want to be… 🙂

Daily Prompt: Substandard   


4 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Substandard

  1. dronstadblog July 31, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    You are doing what you love, so whatever the success, you keep doing it. That’s what I do. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alongtheinterstice July 31, 2017 / 5:46 pm

    so much of what you said hit home…i was fifty a couple years back when i started putting out my poems and photographs here in the blogosphere, empowered by the wonderful community here. Even though i received a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing, the only people who saw my poems were those in the workshops (i was okay with that maybe because they were tossing their stuff out there to be delved into and analyzed — misery loves company).

    My significant other about three years later said “You know what, i’ve never seen your poetry.” Without missing a beat, i replied “And you never will,” maybe only seriously at the time, but maybe not,

    For me, it has helped to remember my art teacher at my alternative high school, who basically try to drill into us that nothing is sub-standard, but we can always grow and improve. Authenticity is all that matters. (He would make us draw one line and then go around and look at each, saying “there, right there is an amazing line…now riff off of it, see where you can go.”

    Keep on, keeping on…the writing. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

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