My name is Susan and I am an Over-Preparer…

If there was a 12 step program for people who are addicted to completely over-preparing for every single design, engagement, email, appointment and responsibility, I would be in it.

Seriously, its almost pathological for me, the need to have read everything, seen everything, left no stone unturned, rehearsed and be 100% clear on how I am going to conduct myself through pretty much most situations (Translation: yes, I am a nerd).  I say most, because obviously you can’t do this all the time. On those occasions I ‘wing it’ and do you know what happens?  It all turns out perfectly fine and nobody knows that I put zero preparation in.

So why do I bother?  I guess the answer lies in that we all have a creative process which (hopefully) gets us to the completion of a project.  For me I think that it is partly just the habit of holding onto old ways of being and doing, because for some time now I have been exploring what it means to live intuitively and trusting my natural talent.  And for the period that I have been experimenting with this, the results have been mostly really fantastic – I have trusted my natural ability to do what it is that I am setting out to do, kept an end result in mind, and then ‘winged it to completion’, minus the 20 hours of preparation.

So why, pray tell, did I just spend 4 days in a hotel in Perth writing ten thousand words (the equivalent of an Honours Thesis) in preparation for a workshop?  I have just realised that there are two reasons:

Firstly, the very valid need to get my voice out on paper on a particular theme [...]

How Self-Doubt Can Be Good for Creative Professionals

Make friends with self-doubt.  It may not be going anywhere, but you still can!

I can say, that I don’t know a single creative professional that does not from time to time have moments of crippling self-doubt.  You know, the kind that stops you dead in your tracks and has you considering pretty much any profession other than the one you have chosen.  This may sound like a gross generalisation, but in my personal experience, those that I know that suffer from the most dramatic shutdowns caused by self-doubt, happen to be my creative compatriots.

I am not at all surprised that this is the case.  Few other professions require putting your soft, most private underbelly on the line as a creative business people.  When it is your job to pull out of yourself on a regular basis something so special and inspired that others will fork out money for it, the pressure is really on.

And I think it is shallow to think that that pressure comes from making the sale or not.  What’s really at stake is rejection, humiliation and failure. To many creatives, putting your art or product out there and asking people to pay money for it, is akin to putting your head on a chopping block.  What will happen if they say no?  Or worse still, what if no one says anything at all?

I can happily admit, that after 14 years of putting myself out in the world as a creative professional and asking people to buy my work, that I am still now and again overtaken by tsunamis of self-doubt so great that I completely shut down.

I think I have finally come to accept that they happen, and that the only [...]