Creativity & Self-Doubt
People always ask me how I came up with the idea to make candles about literary works and to be honest, I don’t really know. When I first thought of the idea I didn’t know anyone else was making literary candles. There was just one day when I was writing in my notebook and I thought to myself: I love books. I’ve been making candles. Why not make candles based on books? It was a simple and pure revelation.
Upon researching I discovered there were a few other companies already making literary candles, but none of them had candles for the novels I loved dearly so I stuck with my idea. I talked to my husband, a designer by trade, and asked him if he would make some labels. The day he showed me the labels I knew we were onto something. They were beautiful. Better than anything I had pictured in my head. I was incredibly excited.
What followed after that, and what follows after many great ideas (I would imagine) is a period of self-doubt. Are my ideas good? Are they worth anything? Will anyone like it? Will anyone buy it? Maybe the packaging isn’t good enough. Maybe the scents aren’t good enough. Maybe this. Maybe that. I was getting tossed into a whirlwind of self-doubt.
In Sylvia Plath’s journal she writes, “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
And in some ways I agree with her. It can destroy great ideas before they are born. It can cause new ideas to crumble, but in other ways I disagree.
For me, my self-doubt has been helpful. It has provided healthy levels of worry and concern for my craft. The fear that our candles will not good enough has pushed me to continue to improve them: the scent choices, the labels and the packaging. The fear that no one will buy them has pushed me to believe in our candles wholeheartedly so that others will believe in them too. Although I will admit that every time I get a notification that we have a new review my body is flooded with fear that it will be negative, and when I open it to find it’s positive feedback, joy and relief fills my body and it is like the world’s greatest drug.
Through the process of starting our candle company, I have learned that self-doubt can be a great source of inspiration.
We all have that small voice in the back of our head questioning our decisions for a reason. Listen to it. Think about what it’s saying, make changes, and then keep pushing forward. Push through the self-doubt and the blockage until you find yourself in the space of creative epiphanies and relish in that space. Write everything down. Brainstorm and think and create your heart away and enjoy the golden time of idea-making. And when the next period of self-doubt comes over you like a wave, don’t fret. Use that time to analyze what you’re doing and what needs to change. Allow it to influence your work for the better, because self-doubt doesn’t have to be the greatest enemy to creativity, it can be its most valued partner.
All images by Beth Priddy