Today’s assignment: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!
A blog topic that I could build upon dawned on me rather quickly. When I read whereshappy’s totally relatable I Can’t Turn My Head to the Right, I was reminded of one of the things that delayed putting this blog’s being into existence: fear, including fear of what people will think.
When it dawned on me that I might start a blog rather than write that book I’ve always wanted to write, I was a bit overwhelmed by many things, two foremost: the technical and technological, and surely often frustrating, how; and the very real – not “someday dream” – concept of actually putting my personal thoughts in writing out there for the world to see. The technical I could figure out one way or another – which I continue to do, many thanks to Blogging 101.
So it’s scary to put it all out there because we all doubt ourselves to some extent. And let’s face it, not everybody is going to like us or agree with what we have to say, and some people suck and are mean about it. I was thinking one might need a thick shell, which not a lot of us have, to put one’s thoughts out there into cyberspace. I’m a very positive person, and I think I always project that, so I can only hope for some of that back from those I encounter. So far so good.
I began to wonder…is it a bit scary for any artist, whether musician or painter or sculptor or poet or author, to put their art out there? I had never really thought about that before, and I suppose I had never really considered authoring as the art that it is. But of course musicians must experience fear. It would suck to be a musician that was too afraid to play his or her songs for anyone.
Taking a hint from Day Nine’s assignment instructions, I searched the topic of “artist fearing to release work.” I found soooooo much information, including this plain and simple practical step-by-step guidance: A Guide to Beating the Fears That Are Holding You Back.
But then I searched “musicians and fear” and found a site called Peak Performance for Musicians with this interesting article: Daring Greatly – The Vulnerable Performer. Lo and behold there are academic research studies on the subject. Dr. Diana Allan researches such things and designed her site to “…help musicians learn the strategies to mentally prepare for peak performance.” (1)
She contends that there is a difference between being fearful and being vulnerable, and that artists should be vulnerable:
At the core of courage is a willingness to become vulnerable. When performers step out onto the stage and go for it—really risking emotionally and musically—it makes them vulnerable to messing up, to falling short of the mark, to rejection, criticism, failing, embarrassment, or simply to the disappointment…Maybe the risk you need to take is to rely on and trust your preparation instead of perform with that ever-present analyzing, correcting voice. There is no courage without risk of one kind or another.
The thing that I buy here is to trust your preparation. I used to have a big problem with public speaking, but after a year with Toastmasters, and a few years of practice – some good and some bad, I’m a pretty decent public speaker these days, because I know how to be prepared.
Once you get the courage, Dr. Allan reminds us to remember the balance and learn from failure:
And no one who gets on the stage, so far that I’ve seen has not failed. It is the same with you. There are times that you WILL mess up. You will fall short of the mark or be rejected or be criticized. There will be times that you will feel embarrassed or be disappointed or even fail. Join the rest of us—admit it and accept it…[y]ou see, it is NOT playing or singing perfectly that excites us and our audiences. It is vulnerable authenticity!
Okay I totally buy that in the context of a musical performance, because when the artist is feeling it, you know it and you feel it too.
So the lesson here today is that you are supposed to be vulnerable in order to perform at your best. Vulnerable seems like a full notch down from fearful, and this just makes it easier.
And lastly, if you’re wondering about the featured photo, since I couldn’t think of anything else, I’m using my new gravatar photo which I FINALLY got around to creating this weekend. Yes, that is my hair from 1987 ;o)