here I go again

For any of you wondering why I was gone last week, I will try to explain. Blame the fever I’ve had for the last two days if I don’t make much sense.

I've stayed away because I was hit by feelings of self-doubt. That’s it, plain and simple. It touched how I feel about my work, my abilities and my path choices; everything related to what I do for a living. I waffled about my current projects and about ideas that I have about the future. Reflective retreat is my typical modus operandi when all this comes about.

It’s not the first time I feel this way, nor will it be the last. It’s something that shows up like an unwelcome guest and can be just as annoying. I acknowledge these feelings, not because I really want to, but because I need to. Trying to ignore the whole thing and move on would be like trying to work with one hand behind my back.

I don’t really know why these feelings creep up but they do. Like I said, they're annoying but in a strange way they shake me up in a good way. When they pass I typically feel a sense of renewed enthusiasm. I discover that there was something that needed to be fixed and I find that I have new ideas that were lurking under the surface. This time was no different.

I’m ok now. I’ve done some reading, taken notes and done some sketching. I think I’ve even made up my mind about what I want my second book to be about. Yes, I’m willing to take the leap again. I still have to see if my idea is accepted but I’m pretty excited about it.

I wondered if I should post this or not. But sharing preempted feelings of vulnerability because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that goes through all this. Coincidentally Jena proved that today. So, in case you didn't know this already, if you’ve ever gone through something similar, you’re not alone.

• • •

“Self-doubt is the little voice in your head saying " You Can Do It!" and the big voice saying " I Wish You Would"...listen to the little voice” - Sean O'Donnell


  1. Patricia,

    Your work truly inspires me. It's fresh, fun and creative.

    Self doubt is normal, I deal with that all the time myself too. Sometimes it's a big struggle for me.

    One thing I have noticed that is common among creatives is most deal with this same issue for some reason?

    Thank you for posting about this.


  2. Thanks for posting about your feelings of self doubt. I read Jena's post the other day too. Self doubt must be going around like a flu bug… Reading about it makes it feel normal. I sometimes feel crippled by it even though my job isn't really creative. Glad you've come through to the other side. I like what you said about acknowledging it and learning from it.

  3. I feel like it's been a reflective time of year- and that we all deal with it in our own way. It's evident in so many blogs now... and it's really reassuring to know we are not alone.
    Cudos to you for taking some time. We, here, on the other side have no doubts about your beautiful abilities, so we'll be waiting for you whenever you decide you need a break.

  4. You're so brave for sharing what so many feel. Thank you! I believe self-doubt overcomes all creative types at various points in their lives. It was a strange thing to realize that even people I considered way more talented than me fell prey to it. Yet it also gave me comfort and helped me overcome my fears and self-doubt. And you're right- if you allow yourself to work through it, you do find a renewed enthusiasm for what you do. Best of luck with your new projects!

  5. wow, this post is so timely for me. i've been feeling the self-doubt for a little while now, and it's so easy to look at your peers on the internet and think you're the only one that ever feels it. it's really nice to hear that others share the same feelings sometimes (not that i would wish them on anyone!) it also seems that this is a time of uncertainty, which can either be seen in a negative or positive light- we can use it as an opportunity to shed what doesn't work and move into something new or stay stuck in old ruts. thank you for writing about this!

  6. Frankly, I think sharing just about ALL feelings is healthy and good for blogs. But I understand being hesitant. A lot of people are uncomfortable with it. Thanks for sharing these. I often wonder why those insecure feelings come up with no warning. I've fought that 'side' of me for years, but at some point we have to make peace with it. It will pass through, just like the exuberant feelings.

    A lot of the time, I find that when I'm thankful for all the small victories I've had, and all the people who believe in me, it sometimes gets me out of that morass. Sometimes it doesnt work, but when it does, it's great.

    rock on. blogging is a brave endeavor.

  7. Your honesty and insight is refreshing and thought provoking. My life is filled with creative people and at one time or another we all have tuggings of doubt and insecurity. Not to mention if you're going down the right path, is there something better that you should be doing or if you're even taking full advantage of everything and living each day to its fullest.

    Don't ever ignore those feelings. They're what keep us balanced and sane. Just remember that you're right--so many people go through them--and go ahead and take that leap.

    Because a life without blind leaps is a very boring one indeed.

  8. Your self-doubt inspires me. I see you as having "made it" doing the thing you love. How could someone like you suffer from self-doubt? I haven't even found my thing yet, never mind the determination to do whatever looks interesting until something sticks. So knowing that you struggle with this too makes me want to really get out there and try.

    And I'm honestly not sure if I'm going to make it until August when your book comes out. It just looks so wonderful.

  9. Your work is amazing, and I love coming by your page and seeing your lovely pieces, and hearing about your life. I guess since we are humans and imperfect, it's normal to doubt about ourselves, but often it's unfounded. And definitely not something you should worry about! Your work is AWESOME.

    But thanks for your sincere and open post. It means a lot that you would pour out your fears and doubts to us.

  10. Delurking to tell you a short story. I'm trying to start a business of cake decorating, and I was feeling alot of self doubt after making my worst cake yet. One of the things i told myself is how envious I am of your talent and that you KNOW you are a professional. so you can imagine my surprise now to read your latest entry! Thanks for sharing, the bad but especially all the wonderful things you do, they are truly a feast to the eyes!

  11. I think all creative people go through periods of self-doubt. It seems to come with the territory. While it's certainly rough to go through, I do believe it makes us re-evaluate and reach for places that may be uncomfortable, in order to further progress in our work. But the process can be torturous! I've often said that at times, I wished I had a job that was more black and white. Design is so subjective, and client work especially so. I'm about to embark on 2 new projects. While it's exciting, a part of me is dreading the creative end of it. I know that the next 2 weeks are going to be hard. Hang in there!

  12. This seems to be a recurring theme in the blogsphere lately. I think many of us are touched by this as of late. All we can do is push through those negative thoughts and focus on what we want to accomplish.

    I think on some level it is reassuring to know we aren't alone. I look at your work and all the other artists I admire and think how accomplished and talented they are, and it always comes as a surprise to me that they have their own internal voices to contend with as well. And here I thought, it was just me! Here's to conquering the negative voices!

  13. Patricia, THANK UOU for sharing and posting about this! Definitely many of us had/have the self-doubt feeling, and many times this feeling turn in to a self –sabotage feeling. I think these kind of uncertainty moments make us stronger.
    Again, thank you so much for sharing your feelings. You*KNOW* your work is *AWESOME*
    Have a great week!

  14. Hi Patricia,

    Thanks so much for this post. I've been feeling this way too. Had a big discussion with my hubby about it last night- then woke up to your post. Just what I needed to read.

    The comments from people/artists I admire are also uplifting. The whole thing makes me feel better about what I've been feeling lately. I guess the test of success is how one moves past these feelings.

    You are a fantastic person as well as designer. I'm so glad I had the chance to meet you.


    P.S. I like the new leaves on your header :)

  15. Like so many others have said, I think this self-doubt is just part of being a creative person.

    It takes tremendous courage to share our creativity. We're trying to convey the ineffable, and communicate with the world. It's only natural that we would occasionally marvel at the enormity of our task and wonder if we were capable of it.

    I think it makes us better artists, crafters, bloggers, whatever, to occasionally take a step back, look at the big picture of what we're trying to accomplish, and then marshal our forces to dive back in. And it makes us far braver human beings.

    Congratulations on powering through it, and on all your fabulous work.

  16. You're definitely not alone. I doubt myself a lot.

  17. Nope you're not alone - I often feel as if I have NEVER ONCE in my life reached my full-potential. And then wonder if I ever will. . . just gotta keep on keepin on I guess! God Bless you!

  18. Funny. All along while I was reading this post I was thinking that I'd send you a link to Jena's article. I read it a few days ago and it spoke tons to me, and guess who came up in my mind as somebody who I look up to and feel unaccomplished compared to... That's right: You.

    I thought I'd come out of the lurking clouds to tell you that. Glad you feel better now.

  19. thanks for the post, you are not alone for sure! it's a good way to talk about it.

  20. I haven't read these comments, so forgive me for potentially doubling up on someone: my stance is, (1) if you don't get pangs of self-doubt, you're not a real artist. And (2), you are entirely entitled to vanish until you feel good to come back.

    Stay cool!

  21. Thanks for sharing, Patricia. I felt so connected to what you wrote and it´s good to know how other people deal with the same difficult feelings.

    Guess that the quote in the end just summarizes it, doens´t it? (I´ll be repeating "little voice, listen to the little voice" over and over!)

    Thank you - your work is amazing.