STOP Apologizing for Your Art

She shuffled her papers in the front of the room, I didn’t have as much time to prepare as I had hoped, but here it is…

We’ve all done it before. Standing on the precipice, about to share or present our work – whether with a friend or an entire room of people – and we begin by apologizing.

This reflex act of self-protection stunts our growth and distances our work from us, we feel safer sharing because it is not our best work, it is our mediocre work.

We need to STOP IT!

The act of creating is brave. 

You made something! Whether it is a painting, a poem or a story – YOU made it.

Thousands of creative people do not even get that far, so be kind to yourself and let your art stand on its own – without excuses.

Whether you have poured five minutes, five hours or five weeks into your creation: there is always room for improvement and it is vulnerable and intimate to share our art – this piece of ourselves- with others, but we need to stop apologizing.

The secrets to help you stop apologizing:

  • your audience does not know how long you spent preparing
  • your audience does not share the vision for your work that you have
  • your audience is kinder than you think (unless there is a critic among them – but we all know to take the words of a critic with a big grain of salt)

When you stop apologizing, you allow your audience to interact with your art AS IT IS. This opens up space for feedback. If we are constantly apologizing, we stunt the feedback we could have received because our audience thinks, they didn’t have as much time as they wanted. She was tired. Her kid was sick. etc. Instead of giving us valuable feedback, our audience feels sorry for us and believes our excuses: it could have been better. I don’t know a single artist who wants the pity of others – and yet by apologizing, this is what we invite.

As artists we need feedback and when people withhold it because of our excuses and apologies, we will not grow. 

This was a hard lesson for me to learn, and even today I have to bite my tongue to keep from apologizing and barricading myself behind my excuses. Apologies do not strengthen our art – they weaken it. I keep myself from apologizing by repeating these things to myself:

  • I did my best.
  • Let it (my work or project) stand on its own.
  • Don’t invite pity.
  • Stand strong.
  • Stand confident.

What are your thoughts? How do you keep yourself from apologizing?

4 Comments

  • Mary

    May 30, 2017

    This is something I know I need to work on; thank you for your honesty, Dee!

  • dwelsh

    May 30, 2017

    You’re so welcome Mary!

  • Ruth

    July 29, 2017

    By preparing! This is SO me, soon to be the old me!! When I apologize it’s because I had too much on my plate and didn’t plan accordingly. My confidence builds when I direct my attention on only one task until it’s completed. No more trying to multi-task!

  • dwelsh

    August 18, 2017

    Yes! You got it! 🙂 Can’t wait to see all the places you go!

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field