Doubt is Machiavellian and opportunistic.  It’s devious, artful and cunning.

It wiggles and weaves its way into our unconscious and is behind the demise of more ideas and inspiration than actual failure ever is.

It’s a fear of the unknown and it’s the amplification of that fear that can negatively impact our thoughts and actions, especially in our textile and fibre art.

So what’s the answer?

Change the way you feel and you’ll change the way you think, so rather than looking at doubt with suspicion and apprehension, look at it as an aid to help move your work forward – even if you sometimes appear to move backwards.  That’s normal.

It’s so easy to be inhibited and confused in what we do, but without strong focus and a willingness to sometimes fail, we’re giving doubt the thumbs up for vacillation and a lack of conviction.

Rather than have misgivings about going down a certain path, entertain more paths.  Rather than hesitating about trying new design elements – add more.  Want to mix in more colours – or pare them down?  Do it.  But do it all with confidence – and that ‘what if’ attitude of success.

What’s the worst that can happen?  Failure?  We all experience failure, but turn that around too and look at it as it actually is – and that’s knowledge and experience.  Manna from heaven for any artist, surely.

I try to look at doubt as a healthy inclusion in my art practice – and I truthfully admit, it’s always there.  I am never truly confident, certain or secure in what I do – but I look at that as a good thing.

Experience is one thing, certainty is another.  Doubt just has to be managed and looked at constructively.

Am I doubtful?  Absolutely, positively, but that’s what actually pushes me forward.

cathy jack coupland