Welcome to Part II of a IV part series on vulnerability.
Through this series I hope to share with you what vulnerability can mean to us artists as we struggle to define ourselves in the creative space and build small business that, lets be real, are direct reflections of us and our hearts.
Each post in this series will feature the thoughts of a different designer who is actively sharing their work and building a creative business. In the last post I will share my own struggles and embrace vulnerability as I tell you some of the challenges I’ve faced as a creative.
I hope you enjoy. Here’s to being vulnerable!
In part I of this series, Virginia (AKA The Happy Artisan) shared with us her concerns about diving into social media as someone new to the game and just starting a creative business.
Today, Mary Williams of Creating to Love shares with us what it is like as someone who just went for it, jumping in feet first and embracing vulnerability on social media from the start. Mary decided that if she was going to be on social media and share her art, she was going to be super honest about the process and her challenges.
Why I Jumped In
I believe that we’re all vulnerable, all the time.
It is a choice to acknowledge that simple fact, and then to take it a step further and share our vulnerability with others.
I’ve been longing to live a more creative life for some time now. I loved art as a child and don’t know why I wandered so far away from that beautiful interest. I currently have a part time portrait photography business, but it just doesn’t feed my artistic interests in the ways I truly need.
As a stay-at-home mom, I feel a need to have a place or time each day (usually when my children are sleeping) to just express myself, to just be. All these reasons made me decide to do The 100 Day Project this past spring. This is what really pushed me to put myself out there, create and share it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly all became meaningful to me because of my desire to explore this calling to create. It’s authentic, and I’m deeply grateful for this part of my life.
Why I Chose Vulnerability
It holds me accountable. I have a lot of practical reasons for choosing vulnerability. At a most basic level, it holds me accountable to stretching myself creatively. I don’t think I would have completed The 100 Day Project had I not opted to post my paintings every single day online. There were most certainly days that I cringed loading the picture on Instagram, but I did it anyway because I wanted to complete my goal.
It’s what I want to see from others. Essentially, the story of my creativity that I’m sharing on social media is the one I would have loved to see others share as I was starting out. In fact, it’s still what I long to see from other artists. If I want others to tell me the honest story of how they grew and are still growing creatively (no matter their artistic medium), then I feel compelled to share it myself. It’s easy to forget what it feels like to be a beginner (something which I still very much consider myself to be) or someone who is struggling with inspiration or technique or burnout.
I want to remember where I’ve been. I don’t want to lose or forget the early chapters of my story. I haven’t deleted anything from my Instagram account. If you scroll to the beginning you might laugh or cringe at my earliest shares, but it’s all there, it’s all true, and it’s all mine.
I love a beautifully curated Instagram account, but I adore an authentic one so much more.
I want to grow. Being vulnerable challenges me to put myself and my creativity out there. It challenges me to grow…not necessarily to become the best at my craft (although I obviously hope to grow in my skills!) but more importantly, to develop my own unique style and to avoid the pitfalls of comparison with and copying others. Practicing vulnerability is practicing courage and growing into myself.
While I sometimes post about my family on my @creatingtolove account, I try to keep most of my personal posts on my personal IG account @maryronanwilliams. I realize that family life very much influences my art, but want to be respectful of my children’s identities. I DO try to be an open book, though, about how I’m feeling about things creativity related. It’s all part of my journey and I want to own it!
I certainly have my fears about putting myself and my art out there. I have no formal training in art and I cringe at some of the things I create as well as some (probably many!) of the mistakes that I’m making along the way. I sometimes worry too much about what others think about me, and I return to the idea that choosing to be vulnerable is an incredibly healthy challenge. I do wonder if others take the artist me seriously, or if they might just think I am simply “playing artist.” I know it shouldn’t matter as I believe I am so much more than that. I try to not let those feelings hold me back or push me into being something I’m not.
In choosing to be vulnerable in sharing my artistic self, I’m learning how to slowly open up more about all of me…my faith, my identity as a mother, my hopes and dreams.
I recently have started to feel that other parts of my creative life which aren’t currently shared as much as my painting are longing to be revealed to the world, and I’ll be sharing some other projects soon. I’m nervous and excited about doing so, but I know it will be the best way to help me to continue to grow and evolve as an artist and as a person.
Just imagine, if we scrolled through IG and we saw the mistakes and the difficulties that our favorite artists experienced…we’d be empowered to share the same. I don’t want to be perfect; that’s exhausting. I want to be myself. Let’s choose to be vulnerable and relax in the knowledge that we will relate to so many more people than we will ever know!