There was a time in my early 30s that I felt a bit lost. Everyone must experience this at some point in their life I'm sure, maybe even more than once. Sometimes it's personal, sometimes professional. But I didn't really know where I was going. I'd had three kids, left my pretty non-existent career path and didn't know what I wanted to "do." It was such a frustrating time and it took awhile before I stumbled into something that I felt passionate about, that fit my personality and my vision for the "work" side of my life. I'm still crafting it, working toward it, learning and growing and often I feel like I'm "pretending" at what I'm doing. That I don't have any real qualifications, that I don't have the talent, that it's too late to start over with something new, and I will never. ever. get. there. Those gnawing doubts are constantly playing on a loop in my brain. But there's a real freedom in being a beginner and not really knowing what the hell it is you're doing. I love that quote from Jon Acuff, "Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle." It's hard to keep your eye on your own path when it's so easy (in the age of the internet) to peek over and see someone else's much lovelier, more successful path. Surely you've heard that Ira Glass recording on creativity and the gap between your taste and ambitions and the work you're producing (go have a listen if you haven't, it's so kick ass wonderful) and that's also how I remind myself to approach it: do the work. The artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon wrote an essay on her blog a few months back called On Doing the Work and she gives three pieces of advice to people just starting out selling art: get started now, show up and do the work, and be patient.
I've kind of dedicated this year to "doing the work." Not that it's something I'll stop doing in December, but that my primary focus should really be on making art, making more art, then making some more art. And I finally feel like I'm starting to have those moments when I finish something and think, "Well look at that, that's just about what I wanted it to be." That's a nice place to be.