I think I speak for all, if not most, artists when I say that producing work can be a major cause for anxiety. Don't get me wrong, some, if not most, of it is completely uncalled for, but it still happens. For some reason, creative people were endowed with the ability to cause themselves crippling self-doubt that will sometimes creep itself into the rest of one's life.
I say this as I am dealing with a little of it myself.
I'm sitting on my sofa right now with my supervisor, that being my dog, trying to relax and re-energize myself after a wonderful trip to the Pacific Northwest over Memorial Day weekend. I've never had a problem with jet lag in the past, but maybe that has to do with age and not drinking away the problem like I used to. Either way, I'm tired.
On top of being tired, I'm heading straight into hosting an opening at my gallery tonight, contemplating some serious life changes, and looking at various calls for entries that will hopefully progress and increase the exposure of my work (no pun intended). The latter of those three things is what really got me thinking about the doubt and anxiety that I, and many others, deal with.
I can only speak for myself, but I find that, even though my confidence is at an all-time high, I still seek recognition to satisfy my need to be relevant and appreciated. It's like a horrible disease that is purely mental and easily ignored, as long as I'm not trying to do something important to me.
This may be a little more personal information that one would want to hear, but I think it's relevant. I had a bad problem with alcohol for a good 4-5 year stretch, maybe longer, but the worst part was about that long. I've worked through it and continue to do so. What I've found, though, is that some of the things I've learned about this problem directly parallel problems with self-doubt over my work. I no longer have a craving for alcohol, it doesn't control my day, my thinking, or my life in general anymore. However, I'm constantly aware that I had that problem and if I forget that I could very easily allow myself to fall back into bad habits. The anxiety over my work, and many other things, works in the same way.
I'm more confident now about my work. I try to get it out and show it to people because I'm confident. Yet, the "crippling self-doubt" is always there, lurking like a predator about to pounce. The difference is that I'm now aware that the predator is there. I know that my anxiety is there and I have to work around it. In a weird way I give it some credit for keeping me moving forward. Don't get me wrong, it haunts the ever-living shit out of me sometimes, but I have to remind myself that 99-100% of it is nothing to be worried about. Certain people are just not into the type of photography I produce. Some people just could care less about photography in general, and that's their opinion that they are allowed to have.
In the end, I think as artists and creative types, the one thing we would do best to remember is that what other people think is their business. I've hear that a lot over the past two years and it has been one of the things I've always tried to remember.
ON A SIDE NOTE!
I plan on having images up from Seattle, Portland, Olympia, and other locales visited very soon, so please check back to see them!