writing

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong”-Joseph Chilton Pearce.

Being creative can be hard work. Hard to get the words onto the screen for that next draft, hard to get the confidence to write the book, launch the blog, heck even write that funny tweet. Creatives are riddled with self doubt. Fact.

The quicker you realise this, understand it’s part of the process and push through it anyway, the better. Get positive. Start believing in yourself or just pretend you do, and others will follow suit.

Self-belief, tenacity (and talent of course, which can be honed, built on and improved) will lead you to success. True story.

The first time on set as a director, aged 22 for my MA graduation film Rifts was pretty ‘sh** your pants scary’ (and no, I didn’t). A directing virgin, I had to lead a crew of 100 professional crew (as part of the MA, I had to be the only student) and I remember thinking on my first day that this would be as much a performance for me as the actors.

Yes I was prepared as much as you can be (read-throughs, improvisation sessions, rehearsals, shot lists written, storyboards drawn) but it was a huge, massive, head first leap into the deep end, make that, shark invested waters kind of time. My degree, my future career, what felt like my whole life ,depended on that short film (Oh and the mere £12,000 of other people’s money I’d raised to make it).

I did it though and I’m proud of that short. It won awards, caught the attention of the film industry and was undoubtedly the start of my career. Ten years later, my creative life is coming full circle as it is that film which is the basis of an idea optioned by a leading production company that I’m developing for TV. It’s tells the story of warring kebab shop owners in London.

You can watch the film by clicking shorts and RIFTS on my film site HERE.

So, I’m glad I felt the fear and did it anyway. My whole career seems to return to those unsettling waters, hinging on that ‘positive (sometimes kidding myself) I can do it’ attitude.

…Later, after a year’s apprenticeship at a major film company and distributors, post MA, I left to embark on a freelance writing and directing career. Scary, nerve racking times again with no guarantee of work.

My experienced film colleagues advised me to always tell people that, ‘I’m a director’ not a budding director but ‘a director’. It was the best advice anyone’s ever given me. It got me an agent, meetings, teaching and lecturing work in between gigs, funding for my next film and on-going commissions.

If you take yourself seriously, others will too. Simple. Yes the self doubt is always there bubbling away (I’d be concerned if it wasn’t-even Scorcese said he feels it before each film), the worry that people/the audience/your readers won’t appreciate, agree, enjoy your voice, your work, your take on life. And that’s OK. The arts are subjective. Not everyone will like your work, your voice, your blog. Or you. Deal with it. Take criticism. Learn. Retain your voice though and be true to you.

But before all that, to even get you there, you simply need to believe you can do and be prepared to slog, push and improve to reach your goals.

Ignore those negative voices in your head, silence them, envisage you doing it, in order to DO IT otherwise you never will and you’ll always wonder ‘what if’.

I think throughout my career, I’ve always pushed myself a little too far when it came to directing work so the majority of new commissions usually felt that bit out of my depth urging me to rise to the challenge, learn new things, raise the odds, reap the rewards.

I’m pleased to say these gigs, so far, have pretty much turned out well (just don’t ask me about a Sci Fi short film I made-non commissioned which I think I might have accidentally burnt to smithereens).

Sci-Fi is definitely not for me (and I knew it before I even made that film) yet I probably learnt more on that shoot where everything went wrong (filming under flight paths anyone?) than on all the successfully executed shoots that came before it, and since. I also learnt to trust my instinct more than ever. An important lesson.

So say ‘no’ when viscerally it doesn’t feel right, and don’t accept work you know in your heart isn’t for you, because part of being creative means needing to be slightly in love with what you do, or finding enough love for the projects you agree to, in order to make them work and put bread on the table.

That how I feel about my blogging work and anything creative I put my mind too.

Oh and remember that those commissions, publishing deals, finished films, award winning blogs take time. So have courage, stick with it. Dream big. Work hard.

You can do it. I promise.

Vicki’s filmmaking website.

Vicki Psarias is also a professional blogger here and at mummysgotstyle.com. Vicki is also a multi-award winning screenwriter and director, making TV drama, documentaries, short films, music videos and commercials.

Her work has screened on British, French and US TV, along with screenings at international film festivals.

Just a Few of my Favourite Books:

For All writers/budding writers:

Becoming A Writer-Dorethea Brande

The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self

 

Screenwriting:

Writing the Romantic Comedy-Billy Mernit.

Story-Robert McKee

 

Directing:

On Directing Film-David Mamet

Directing-Michael Rabiger

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90 Responses

  1. Tracey Gwynne

    Love love love this post. Spent over 20 years in the creative industry and have a list of ‘projects’ on hold waiting for someone to ‘discover me’. 2017 might have to be the year where I push myself and have super duper belief rather than ‘waiting’. Thanks for such an inspirational post,

    Reply
  2. Rochelle

    Your posts always motivate me! I need to ‘fake it till I make it’. I always seem to lack confidence in everything I do, but I really am determined to overcome my weaknesses and keep pushing! Thank you for your post xxx
    Rochelle recently posted…So what are you doing for bonfire night this Saturday?My Profile

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  3. Becky at PinksCharming

    I left a secure and relatively well-paid job to go freelance last year – it was terrifying but I knew in my gut it was the right thing to do for my family. It was, and it has taught me to go with my gut too, and also that I can do these things! Thanks for the confidence boost – I think it’s good to read inspiring posts like this every so often to remind yourself you can do things, and why it’s so important to try! Becky x #brilliantblogposts
    Becky at PinksCharming recently posted…Reasons to be thankfulMy Profile

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  4. Suzzy

    Oh yes, well written as ever!
    In my experience, I was only really taken seriously as an interior designer when I stopped referring to myself as a “trainee”- I may have been studying, sure, but I was still a damn sight better than many of my readers at design! Xxx
    Suzzy recently posted…The importance of authenticity in interiorsMy Profile

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  5. Tim

    Wise and inspiring words. While the occasional lucky one has good fortune fall into their laps, you’re so right that success is often as much the result of persistence as it is of talent. We have to have enough faith in ourselves to dust ourselves off and keep going. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself … 🙂
    Tim recently posted…Our month in photos: March 2015My Profile

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    • honestmum

      True words Tim, talent is necessary and can be honed as it always is but persistence and tenacity is key. You can have great talent but if no one knows about it, it’s no use right!

      Reply
  6. David

    This is a really inspiring post, and it’s come to me with perfect timing as I tentatively step out of my comfort zone to exercise the inner creativity that I usually hold back. I’ve literally just started my blog after feeling the need for some catharsis following the birth of our first child, I took the plunge and just did it, ignoring the apprehension and self doubt I was feeling, and I already good for it (even though I don’t have a huge audience). This advice can really help me 🙂
    David recently posted…UsMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Yay well done David, we all started at the beginning and taking the plunge leads to great fulfilment and opportunity, well done!

      Reply
  7. Morgan Prince

    I’ve said it before Vicki but you are such an inspiring woman. Your accomplishments amaze me and your passion comes through in your writing every time. It was you who inspired me to blog more consistently, it was you who made me realise I CAN call myself a writer. And here you are again, telling me to kick that self-doubt demon to the kerb! It IS all about self-confidence and sometimes faking it is the best way to get there.

    My blog is starting to get a little more attention (Yay!) and my writing is getting better. I wrote a sponsored post recently (my first) and every day I can see things improving. My novel WILL get finished. And if I’m fighting the self-doubt demon I know just where to turn. Thanks Vicki, again. xxx
    Morgan Prince recently posted…Have a Cracking Easter with Crack Attack!My Profile

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    • honestmum

      That means so, so much to me, thanks Morgan, you are brilliant and can achieve anything you set your mind to hun, so pleased for you x

      Reply
  8. You Baby Me Mummy

    Great post, it is a self fulfilling prophecy and if you think you are rubbish/not worthy people will treat you accordingly. If you believe and say you are something, that is how you will be treated. Fake it til you make it! x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…My Weekly Weigh InMy Profile

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  9. Eeh Bah Mum

    Brilliant advice. I think fear stops people doing a lot of stuff but all the best things in life are a little bit scary! #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks, they really are aren’t they x
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  10. Michelle at Bod for tea

    Another inspirational post from you Vicki – thank you! I always know I can come over here for a dose of positivity 🙂 I am often wracked with self-doubt but throughout my career I’ve lived by the mantra BE, DO, HAVE, which fits so well with your post. And my new one is ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’! I love the Artists Way too – it’s a fantastic book x
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    • honestmum

      Thanks darling, best mantra ever, you rock x
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  11. ghostwritermummy

    I love this post. You are SO right. You have to believe in yourself, to make others believe too. My husband taught me that a long time ago and I am trying to teach my kids the same. fab post lovely, I always feel so inspired after reading your blog x x x
    ghostwritermummy recently posted…Return of The Bump: 23 weeks pregnantMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      That means a lot, thank you xx
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  12. You Baby Me Mummy

    You are completely right and I have been thinking a lot about this recently. I behave almost apologetically when meeting other bloggers, as if my blog is nothing. I need more belief and confidence as then that will be kind of a self fulfilling prophecy. I need to remember that in a few short months I have managed to do quite a lot with my ‘little’ blog. Thanks for the reminder x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…Word of the Week #27My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks Aby, so important to remind ourselves of our successes. Thanks for your comment x
      honestmum recently posted…A Day’s Shoot With Celebrity Hairstylist George NorthwoodMy Profile

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  13. Kyla

    Thank you for writing this. It is so easy to become dejected when you are just at the beginning of this journey. You are a testament to hard work and always reaching for the stars.
    #brilliantblogposts
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  14. Notmyyearoff

    Brilliant post and its so true – sometimes just blind belief gets us so so far. Making your first movie must have been scary especially when you’re using someone elses money but bet the end result was so worth it and it definitely sounds really impressive. If you look around then some of the most successful people started with nothing but a belief they could do it. I could do with remembering that I think.

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks lovely, I think the things we do when most scared often, shape us the most-you can watch that film (my MA grad film) and my other shorts and film work on my film site vpsarias.co.uk. Self belief goes a long way x

      Reply
  15. suzanne3childrenandit

    What a very interesting read. I think us ‘creatives’ are our own worst enemy most of the time. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else is going to! Thanks for the reminder 🙂
    suzanne3childrenandit recently posted…Get Good SummerMy Profile

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  16. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)

    Fab post as always lovely and good to know I am not the only one who believes in the ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality. I strongly believe that if you think and act positive then positive things will happen, but it really is hard to truly believe in yourself sometimes! xx #brilliantblogposts
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  17. Leigh Kendall

    Absolutely! We so often have it drummed in to us that we should be modest and not blow our own trumpet. But it doesn’t mean we can’t promote ourselves and celebrate what we are good at – it’s not always showing off. And yes, life is too short to do anything other than what we love xxx
    Leigh Kendall recently posted…A plea to PRs to please do your researchMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Very true Leigh and yes the British way is very much to be modest but you need to be able to promote yourself to help yourself, generate work and I’m all for being more American in my approach!

      Reply
  18. Vicki - The Free From Fairy

    I have no idea how you have time to do your blog as well as everything else! Perhaps you envisage yourself doing it all and therefore it happens! I became a Practitioner of NLP a few years ago and everything you talk about in this post aligns with what I learnt. Putting it into practice can be somewhat harder!! Your kids are very lucky having a mum with such a can do attitude. They will do well in life!
    Vicki – The Free From Fairy recently posted…Gluten-free (& Dairy-free) Party Food for KidsMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks very much Vicki, my blog is my full time job and I have a TV project in development but not on set currently-thanks for your lovely comment x

      Reply
  19. PottyMouthedMummy

    Such a fab post. I am so guilty of playing myself down or not believing and there are times where I just wish I could be my own cheerleader. Really inspiring post lovely, thank you xx

    Reply
  20. MyLifeMyLove

    Oh Vicki you are an inspiration. Talent, sheer determination and belief is what is needed to be a success. I’m trying to believe in my own words but a change in career is so unbelievably scary. I need to listen to my own advice.. and yours. xx
    MyLifeMyLove recently posted…6 Months of JoyMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks so much, hard to listen to our own advice but so important x
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  21. Jenna

    Fab post – sometimes I think the biggest thing holding me back in life is my own self-doubt and the need to for everything to be perfect every.time.

    Life’s not perfect so nor do I need to be. I’m slowly learning this. Slowly. xx
    Jenna recently posted…Jasmine’s OOTD #5My Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks Jenna and you are right, it takes time to relearn new habits but the more you practice self belief, it’s becomes a reality x

      Reply
  22. Chloe (Sorry About The Mess)

    So many great points here.

    Self doubt can put a real dampener on creativity if you let it. I recently went to see Caitlin Moran on her book tour, and she had a lot to say about self-confidence and using a ‘fake it till you make it’ attitude as the way forward, which tends to be how I operate.

    Also love the point about learning to say no to things that you don’t LOVE. I think this can be especially hard when you are just starting out and feel you should be taking every opportunity that comes your way – I definitely struggled to turn down photography work that wasn’t really my bag, but now I will happily and politely decline as I want to have more room for the projects that really excite me. Same goes for anything that I write. When you have young children, your creative time is at a bare minimum, so you need to prioritise the things that you truly love.
    Chloe (Sorry About The Mess) recently posted…California DrawingMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks Chloe, so true-I think kids really help you focus on what matters, in life and work. Of course we all take on jobs to pay bills too but as long as you can find enough love for those along with the passion projects and work that makes your heart skip a beat, you’re there! x

      Reply
  23. mummytries

    Great post Vicki and sound advice as always. I truly think the combination of talent and genuinely believing in yourself can get you anywhere in life. Unfortunately when it comes to writing my book, self doubt has crept in massively. I guess it’s only natural as we get older and the stakes get higher!
    mummytries recently posted…#getgoodsummer Week 3 UpdateMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks for your comment, that’s understandable as it’s hard to relearn a lot of negativity and the voices that hold you back but don’t let it. From today, make a stand and follow your dreams x

      Reply
  24. Dave (The DADventurer)

    Great post. Particularly like “My experienced film colleagues advised me to always tell people that “I’m a director” not a budding director but “a director”. I think this is important in any career when you’re starting out. Most people, me included, tend to lack confidence when it comes to saying what you do – having recently changed careers, I’ve been downplaying what I do as “a bit of different stuff here and there” until recently when I’ve had the confidence to say “I’m a writer” etc.

    Reply
    • honestmum

      It was such great advice Dave and something I remember clearly. Yes you must say that, own, belief it-you are a writer! Thanks for your comment x

      Reply
  25. Beth

    Very good advice you were given and are now giving. I always struggle to be positive about myself or what I do. Any compliment im given I usually have to reply with a negative. I’m slowly getting better as I get older x #brilliantblogposts
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    • honestmum

      Thanks Beth, yes had to teach myself to accept compliments-was hard at first but the last few years, it’s become easy and deflecting compliments means you never really feel as good as you can about yourself. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  26. Izzie Anderton

    All excellent advice as always. I guess it’s good to have self-doubt and question what we do, it makes the creative process more of a challenge but at least we’re always striving to produce better content.
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  27. Kanchan@ The Intrepid Misadventurer

    So pleased to have come across this, Vicki! As I was saying, I was writing about something similar this morning and strongly feel that self doubt is a deafult position for creative people. We’re on the same page there 🙂 How lovely that you’ve not let it stop you and built this successful and also very enjoyable career around it. Well done! I love seeing what you’re up to 🙂 x
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    • honestmum

      Thanks very much Kanchan, it really seems to be creatives Achilles heel-but we need to overcome it and not let it win! Looking forward to reading your post too x

      Reply
  28. Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper

    Such a great post, Vicki. I’m outwardly a confident person, but have been held back in the past by being a bit of a perfectionist. Meaning that I haven’t wanted to try things/go for it as I’ve felt that what I do won’t be good enough, or that others will be better than me. I’ve got over this the last few years (since having kids actually), and i’m quite annoyed that I ‘wasted’ my twenties coming up with ideas, but not actually following them through. At 30, I have so much ambition and drive now, and a ‘fuck it’ attitude, which is frustrating when I have less time to do what I now want to do! I love being busy, and my blog has given me confidence to keep going, and now i’m opening my online crockery shop- something i’d been sitting on for 3 years. I now want to focus on getting my writing mojo back too. I’m a journalism graduate and have written for The Guardian for heavens sake, so I need to have faith in myself and my abilities! I think the trouble is in the UK, we don’t think it’s the done thing to celebrate our achievements, and we fear people will think we’re ‘up ourselves’ or ‘pushy’ if we mention them. This post is definitely going to be bookmarked, so i can refer to it in moments of doubt!

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Becky thanks for this brilliant comment, wow you’ve achieved so much and so pleased this resonated with you, I always say us Brits need a more American approach, you are so right, we should be celebrating our achievements. Can’t wait to hear more about your online shop x

      Reply
  29. Franglaise Mummy

    A fantastic post! My motto is from a book “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, you’ve got to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and then you get the best sense of satisfaction when you achieve it!
    #BrilliantBlogPosts
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  30. Coombemill

    Everyone has some level of self doubt, overcoming it and believing in yourself is the start of something big. Your passion for all you do will see you through any difficulties you face in life.
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  31. Angie

    I’m so glad I read this today. What true and inspirational words, about self-doubt, creativity and just believing in yourself. Your story is incredible and you have accomplished so much, but I agree with you sometimes the more creative you are the more obstacles you face both about putting your thoughts and who you really are “out there” and dealing with both the supporters and the haters. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but we have to have confidence to follow through with our creative impulses instead of being our own obstacles. #AllAboutYou !!!
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    • honestmum

      @Angie thanks so much, so true to harness your creativity and work on your confidence, as sometimes it really is hard work. Thanks so much for your brilliant comment.

      Reply
  32. Mama and More aka Zaz

    I truly loved this post – inspiring and motivating and full of the passion and fire that just pours out of you. You are absolutely right – you should say that you are what you aim to be, especially if you are doing it, and not undersell yourself by telling people you are a novice. It’s like that old adage about dressing for the next level up – dress like it, carry yourself like it, believe you are it – and take everyone including yourself on your ride. Thanks so much for linking to #AllAboutYou xx
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    • honestmum

      @Mama and More thanks so much Zaz, really touched by your comment, all about pushing yourself forward and believing in yourself even when others might not x

      Reply
  33. Sam

    Great post Vicky – its really interesting to read about your experiences in the world of film and directing. i am (or was before motherhood!) a huge film fan and film buff (to an extent – I’ll admit I have some big holes in my knowledge!!). Did you ever watch that Project Greenlight series created by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon? That was a fascinating insight into getting a film made I thought. I got a broken linke for your film by the way… #AllAboutYou
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    • honestmum

      @Sam thanks very much, no never seen that series, will dig out-yes changed the link, thanks for letting me know!

      Reply
  34. normaleverydaylife

    Love this! I never thought about creative people having a lot of self-doubt. Great encouragement and advice! #allaboutyou
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  35. Tory Knowles

    Fab post. As women especially, I think self doubt is something we deal with and something we should ‘push through’. How do we ever know how brilliant we can be if we don’t?!

    Reply
  36. Laura-Ann

    Great post Vicki, its so nice to hear someone voicing this opinion. I’m just starting out in (hopefully) a creative career and self-doubt is a daily occurrence. It’s nice to hear it happens to the best of us and be reminded that positivity and self belief are important.
    Laura-Ann recently posted…January FavouritesMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks @Laura-Ann it happens to us all and thanks for the compliment but not the best I’m sure (just trying and love writing and screenwriting). I always say write with abandon then put it away then revisit a few weeks later (if deadlines allow) fresh and be kind not critical. Try and work with a great editor or developer-someone knowledgeable who can ask you to right creative questions to problems you the writer can only answer in your work. Wishing you the best x

      Reply
  37. Downs Side Up

    Such a useful post and so very true, I have a tear in my eye reading. It’s important to push ourselves, but that ‘out of our depth’ feeling can take it’s toll, all that adrenaline and fear. I’m now off to write a plan! Thank you H x
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  38. Grenglish

    Nailed it! A million percent 🙂
    Great post and so true – I also tell myself that nobody else will know I am nervous, unless I tell them I am that I am.
    I defintiely feel the pressure to gets words on paper sometimes but you are right, you just have to sit down and DO IT! Great post x

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Grenglish thank you-I always find talking about something too much or even ever before you write it kills the idea (apparently your brain can’t full distinguish between writing and speaking out the idea so always best to get it down on paper first x

      Reply
  39. BECKY

    Really inspiring post! Just what I needed right now. Used to be in a creative career, and now enjoy blogging as a fun outlet, but as a fairly new blogger am often doubting what I’m writing, and if people think I’m a dick for writing certain things. I need to man-up and not care and let myself be more creative. Thank you.

    Reply
  40. Emily

    Thanks for this post, Vicki. I really needed to read it today. Well done on all you have achieved.

    Reply
  41. Babes about Town

    This is such a brilliant post Vicki. You nailed it on every level, the self-doubt and self-judgement, the need to step (sometimes leap) outside your own comfort zone to achieve any type of creative growth. It’s fascinating and inspirational to hear your journey.

    One thing that I believe drives all creatives is passion, that passion that allows you to push through fear/hesitation (people asking when you’re going to get a real job!) and follow your ideas wherever they take you. You are one of the most passionate people I’ve met and the success you’ve achieved is testament to that. Just fab xoxo

    Reply

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