Through a polymer clay email list I subscribe to I was directed to this wonderful post by writer and artist Luann Udell. It really resonated with me. I left a comment, and decided to copy my comment here. I recommend reading her post first, but if not, that's okay too. Here's what I wrote back.
I don't think I've ever cried reading a blog post before. It especially started to pour when I read the comment by RK. I struggle, not with not knowing my story, but with believing my story could be worth anything to anyone but me, and because of that (admittedly illogical) belief, I have a hard time finding the courage to really jump in and purposefully try to express something meaningful with art. I'm not a professional artist but I love to create. I've jumped around from medium to medium, craft to craft. I love trying new things, and my current obsession is polymer clay, which is how I found your blog -- but the part of this post and its replies that really resonated with me is the idea of believing in oneself enough to willingly lay your heart bare, to share one's story without (or in spite of) fear.
I've always had a hard time believing artists who claim they only do art for "art's sake" and don't care what other people think of it. What's the point in engaging in communication (which art undeniably IS) if you don't want a reply? The fear of negative, derogatory responses to one's work must be something every creative person has to deal with. It can't possibly be just me, can it?
Writing has always been my first and most terrifying dream. I'm trying to finish a novel that my family has been pressuring me about because they all want to know how it ends (which is gratifying). Of all the creative forms I've played with, writing is the one that makes me the most vulnerable because it's the most important to me. My story will best be told through the stories I write, like yours through the horses you create, and I'm frightened of opening myself up like that -- I let that fear stop me from reaching for my dream.
Understanding, BELIEVING, that the importance of expressing one's own story is greater than any technique mastered or possible financial gain, is a wonderful, inspiring concept that I think all creative people struggle with remembering. I know I certainly do. I thank you for reminding me so beautifully, and encouraging me to express what's in my heart.