Stuck on “Imposter”

I’m realizing that for every new art project of a certain size — i.e. big and important — there are three stages which apparently we MUST to go through in order for the project to ultimately be a real success. You can’t go around them, you can’t go over them, you can’t go under them…you MUST go through them.

The first stage is what I think of as the “good little idea” stage. You know essentially what you want to achieve with your finished artwork and you have an idea. It’s a “good little” idea. Not a great idea. Not a big idea. But it’s a place to start and — this is important — you MUST START. That’s really the hardest part of this stage, just getting started. If you can get past all the busy work you’re putting in the way of beginning this project and just do it you’ll get through this stage with flying colors.

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So you start with your good little idea. You do the work. You get the idea out of your head and onto the paper, or the canvas, or expressed in whatever medium you have chosen. At this point you might even really like what you see. You might want to kiss yourself and that’s fine, enjoy the moment, but then get ready for the next stage. It’s coming in fast and it’s coming in mean. It’s going to be HELL.

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The second stage is what I think of as the “you are an IMPOSTER” stage. If you are an artist who has completed big important art projects you know exactly what I’m talking about…”Who do you think you’re kidding? You’re not an artist! You have definitely bitten off more than you can chew this time Missy! In fact this time you’re the one who’s going to get eaten — Alive! Buahahahahaha!”

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I hate the second stage. The second stage SUCKS. Big time. In fact, I am currently sitting in the middle of a second stage moment right now as I write this post. The only reason I haven’t packed away my paint brushes forever, invested in full body ink, and joined a wandering circus with only a newly adopted pitbull as my traveling companion is because I know, as day follows night, there WILL be a stage three.

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The third stage is what I think of as simply “Whew!” It’s when it all comes together and you actually have a Great, Big Idea, and you ARE an artist, you’re NOT an imposter and your muse isn’t a barren bitch with a sadistic sense of humor after all. All is well. All is well. And all will be well. Until next time.

Wish me luck. It’s lonely in the second stage.