Do you remember the feeling you had when you raised your hand in class to make a suggestion? Or the very moment when you posted a love letter and the envelope dropped into the postbox? When you pushed the button for your first (and maybe every) social media post? It is the feeling you get when you first show someone a drawing, or share an idea, or build up the courage to suggest your view in a meeting. It is when you hold up both your arms and say, “Look at me!” The feeling is hard to describe, but I think that almost everyone has experienced it. It is not simply fear, though it can be debilitating. The closest word I can come up with is Frisson:
A sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill.
Frisson is the feeling that is both a combination of fear and excitement. It is at the pivotal point of every creative process when you put yourself out into the world.
At the moment of pushing the button, opening your sketchbook to someone, stepping up to the mic to make a speech or sing a song, you are in a state of suspended possibility. How is this going to work out? It is at this moment that the emotional state changes and there is a need to dig deep into self-belief.
From that moment, how the world perceives your work is, to a great degree, beyond your control. Of course, you have a better chance of success if you target your concept to your tribe or known market, but ultimately the great unwashed is a fickle mob. You are only as good as your last success.