Bad Days, Imposter Syndrome, and Joy

Posted on Sep 15, 2016 in Blog
Bad Days, Imposter Syndrome, and Joy

Last Friday I had a bad day. Accumulated tiredness from coming home from Dragon Con and getting back into the swing of our daily routine, I guess. I wanted to go to lunch with friends to help shift my mood, but no one was available on short notice. I tried to make some postcards because I needed them to send as thank you notes, but I ruined an expensive sheet of Mixed Media Paper and was utterly disappointed in the second page I made. I spent the remainder of the day poking around on the internet and playing with a new pile of yarn my mother-in-law shifted from her stash to mine. Nothing went horribly wrong or was life threatening. Some of the day was even pretty enjoyable. It was just a day full of not-so-great things happening one after the other.

And then there’s Impostor Syndrome. A friend on Instagram mentioned experiencing it recently and I flinched in sympathy. I think there’s always a low hum of “everybody knows you don’t know what you are doing” when you’re an artist. At least, it’s always been there for me. Over the past three years, I’ve learned to flat-out ignore it most of the time. I mean, I don’t listen to it. AT ALL.

Except when I do. I’ve had two particularly bad seasons of Impostor Syndrome since I started my Make Something Every Day project. The one I had last year was so bad and lasted for so long that I started the process of getting rid of my art supplies. Why would I need all of that stuff when I’m not any good and no one cares? I would sit in my studio and look at the work on my table, crying. Existential crisis, much? It was awful. My friend’s experience last week reminded me that it will happen to me again, probably many more times.

So why keep showing up? I mean, there are plenty of hobbies that I could be enjoying that don’t require such a large chunk of my soul and self-esteem. I’m a decent cook. With a little practice I could be really good. I’m a super fast crocheter. I could spend more time doing that. I’m a novice at yarn spinning, but if I dedicated myself to that, I bet I could finish some yarn to use. Instead, I wake up every day excited to get to the studio, excited to make something, excited to preserve this year’s unbroken streak of 258 days of making something every day. (Note: I wrote this before my gall bladder surgery on day 255. So I’ve missed one day in 258 days.)

As I’ve worked over the past few years, I’ve discovered a few things about why I keep showing up:

Who I am and what I’m making are fundamentally tied together. I honestly think that if I didn’t have access to any supplies, I’d be drawing in the dirt with my finger, stacking rocks in designs, and braiding weeds together to have an outlet. Making has taken so many forms for me over the years: making clothes for my Barbie when I was little, writing, painting, graphic design, cross-stitch, collage, crochet, spinning, art journaling, and book making, just to name just a few. So while showing up is sometimes hard, it’s impossible to keep myself from creative activities.

There is so much joy in the work for me. I have a list of projects a mile long. I’m working on three traveling art journals right now and there are half a dozen more headed my way in the next few months. I need to make postcards so I have some on hand for swaps and to use as thank yous. I’m pondering ideas for my next series on canvas—two new possibilities are in the works!! I’m looking forward to the next season of Get Messy Art Journal that starts in two weeks. Plus, I want to do a few more pages in my Season of Music altered book before the new season starts. I’m waiting to hear back on a grant I applied for and about a gallery show I’m pitching. I’ve been accepted to be a part of the DecoArt Blogger Outreach Program and I need to plan a few projects for that and order my supplies. I’m writing blog posts now for an appreciative audience. Guys, this is all amazing stuff that I’m kinda shocked that I’m a part of. I love it all so much.

I play with paint, paper, and glue for big chunks of the day. I get to experiment with tools and supplies and make cool things. Every once in a while I surprise myself with something so cool, I wonder who made it while I stepped out for lunch. Then I share it on the magic box and people all over the world think it’s cool too, and some of them are inspired to go make their own cool things in their studios. That’s a perfect day right there. Perfect. Day. No question.

Let’s talk about the people that have cropped up in my life since I’ve started this journey. Some are old friends. Some are new friends. Some inspire me. Some I inspire. Some send me cool things in the mail. Some I mail cool things to. Some tell me about cool opportunities to shoot for. Some I pass along cool opportunities to go for. It’s a community, and I am so thankful for the people who make it into something beautiful.

So yeah, there are bad days—and occasionally bad weeks, too—but the joy that’s there as well! The joy of making and sharing is what I’m addicted to. I’m going to keep showing up, even if some days are hard or things don’t go my way.

What keeps you showing up day after day?

 

13 Comments

  1. katie smith
    September 15, 2016

    You know Misty, some people’s blog posts I just skim, but yours I read all the way through, because there’s always some good stuff in there.

    So keep showing up, because there is always someone that you have inspired!

    • mgranade
      September 15, 2016

      Aww, thanks, Katie! You say the nicest things!!

  2. Suzan
    September 15, 2016

    Substitute “horsemanship” for “art” and this is me.

    • mgranade
      September 15, 2016

      Keep doing the thing you love, Suzan! 🙂

  3. May
    September 15, 2016

    What keeps me showing up everyday is you. You inspire me to get creative and stick to it. Thank you.

    • mgranade
      September 16, 2016

      Awww, thanks! So glad to know my work inspires you!

  4. Melody Willoughby
    September 16, 2016

    You are such a joy to me! I love your work and you have always inspired me. So I wish for you many more good days than bad.? And I read your blog everyday.

    • mgranade
      September 16, 2016

      Thanks, Melody! I’m so glad that you are enjoying it! You are a treasure!

  5. Jen
    September 18, 2016

    I don’t know, it’s difficult isn’t it. I end up with multiple posts sat in my blog WIP file. Because I can’t bring myself to post it, because who am I to talk about any of this stuff?

    Doing my creative practices helps, otherwise if I let time build between the last time I did this thing then the FEAR is even bigger than ever and is a bugger to overcome. Because my practice is writing, photography, poetry and music I can’t do all of it every day. So I do at least two every day and make sure there isn’t too long between any one thing, otherwise it is painful to get back into things

    • mgranade
      September 18, 2016

      I think there is most definitely power in keeping on keeping on – not stopping once you’ve started working. I find it’s much harder to get going again once I’ve had a big break because there’s space for the doubts to creep in. I think it’s healthy to rotate through the things you enjoy too. It keeps you from getting board with any one of them. It is hard. And here we are still doing it. Good job!

  6. Clare
    September 20, 2016

    How I love this post Misty, I have enjoyed exploring your blog which I have not visited before even though we are pals on Instagram.
    I try and make something everyday too, but I need to make myself branch out of my sketchbooks and make something I can mail or hang on the wall.
    Thanks for making me think more about this and you never know I might even start a canvas!

    • mgranade
      September 21, 2016

      Yay! Clare! Go for it, girl! Can’t wait to see what you make next!

  7. Misty Granade » The Gap
    September 22, 2016

    […] When I started Make Something Every Day, I didn’t know excited me creatively. I had to get in there and do the work. I felt my way around in the dark a lot of days, stopping and starting making a lot of different kinds of things. I’ve had over three years in “The Gap” now. I better understand what my taste is and I know that what I’m making doesn’t yet live up to my vision. Some days the dissonance between what I’m making and my taste is really jarring. Some days it’s less so. I contemplate quitting on days where the distance between what I’d like to make and what I’m actually making is greatest. Days when I question the worth of everything I’ve made and all of my intentions for making, those too are the days I contemplate quitting. That’s when I have to force myself show up again the next day. Knowing that I won’t ever close The Gap sitting on the couch watching tv is the only thing that gets me in the studio some days. Well, that and the joy. […]