Beading With Anxiety?!

Beading with anxiety-or not beading because of it. Kind of crazy to think about, but it’s happened to me and I’ve seen it in others.

I’ve touched on this topic in a podcast episode about the other benefits you get from entering beading contests, and again when I broke away from my own fear in my post, Design Like A 12 Year Old.

    This is what made me want to write about it again:

  • our bead society had a challenge and only 3 people entered- why give up an opportunity to grow, have fun, and be creative?
  • a beader on FB commented that she was glad she didn’t even try to submit something- what if yours was one of the few accepted?
  • seen many times: after seeing that, I don’t want to share mine- every artist has their first day, you will grow from sharing

Cynthia of Jewelry Tales wrote a fantastic post on why she enters beading contests, and its not about winning. She says they bring out her daredevil: “It’s about flying. Flying without a net. Beading on the edge. Giving myself permission to not remember what I did; giving myself permission to play. It’s me time.”

Wow! I love her approach and enthusiasm! So why do some feel held back? I think it starts with the attitude and approach of the individual beader.

Bead Courageously, then Detach

That sums up the method to my madness. The photo above is a piece I’m working on for Bead Dreams. I think its ambitious and cool, and it will light up, hehe. I did not start it as a piece I would submit. I chose to enter because I don’t have that many larger pieces in my body of work, and I needed a deadline! I know I have to finish and get it photographed by March 26, 2013.

After I finish the piece, I will let it go, to be loved or hated, and judged as all things are. It’s not for me to worry if its accepted, it’s up to me to do the work, to follow my inspiration from beginning to end. This process helps me grow as an artist. If its accepted, I do the happy dance! If it’s not accepted still, I do the happy dance because I know I’m one step closer to my Ninth Symphony. After all, even Beethoven had to write symphonies 1 and 2 etc, before his famous ninth. You can’t “skip” the things that don’t work out.

If you read nothing else, read this- There will always be some kind of fear. Courage isn’t about not being scared. It’s about feeling the fear, and doing it anyway. That is how we grow. The stuff that freaks us out today will be tomorrow’s laugh.

Dealing with Rejection

Sarah of Saturday Sequins, wrote a fabulous post, Don’t Give Up! It’s all about how she deals with rejection and the things she tells herself, and I encourage everyone to give it a read. Sarah says that its not personal and has mercy on the jurors. Bead Dreams can only accept so many pieces, and if they had room to take them all, they probably would. Everything is so good, and I’m so glad I don’t have their job. To separate the field, I imagine they have to find nit picky little details, or start finding things they can relate to. Maybe a certain piece triggers a certain memory, or uses their favorite color palette? It could be anything, so its much easier not to take it personally when you come at it from their perspective.

Get out those beads and make some art.

This is my sign off to the podcast because my hope is that you are inspired- but it doesn’t stop there. I want you (and myself) to take action and follow through on whatever ideas may come. I’ll leave you with a fabulous TED talk and two of my favorite Emmerson quotes:

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Links to beading contests and their deadlines

What do you think? Does any of this resonate with you? Do you have any insights to share? Please share with us in the comments below. I read and appreciate each one!

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • avatar motidana February 20, 2013, 10:58 am

    Hi Mandi ,
    Loved your post on Beading with Anxiety. I have been having mixed feelings about entering bead challenges , and a sort of want to – don`t want to feeling ever since I started beading . Your article reflects my exact feelings and has motivated me to take part in a challenge . Whenever I`m feeling less confident about my beading abilities , I pop back to your web page and am back on track again. Thanks for sharing this lovely article

  • avatar Rachel February 20, 2013, 11:06 am

    Mandi – This is awesome. I am really struggling with a learning curve and rejection right now. Thank you for writing this and letting me know I am not alone:)

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 20, 2013, 11:09 am

    Motidana, thanks for your lovely comment! I really wanted it to be motivating and I’m so glad you are taking part in a challenge :) Also, you have a lovely blog. Keep up the good work!

  • avatar Tammy Bowman February 20, 2013, 11:10 am

    This is a wonderful, inspirational and
    thoughtful post Mandi! I agree with everything you, Cynthia and Sarah have to share on this topic. I think the beading community is very supportive as a whole and ‘putting yourself and your work out there’ is an important contribution to the community that each designer must commit to from time to time. It is useless to create in a vacuum, where no one sees, appreciates or is inspired by your hard work.

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 20, 2013, 11:11 am

    Rachel, my pleasure. I have to admit I was a little nervous to press “publish” on this one, but I felt the fear and did it anyway. You are definitely not alone. Thanks for your comment!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 20, 2013, 11:14 am

    Tammy, thanks so much for your sweet comment. I agree we have a very supportive community. I didn’t think of putting it that way but it is a bit useless to create in a vacuum. Putting it out there to be seen is an important part of the why of creating. Great thought, thanks for sharing!

  • avatar Sarah (Saturday Sequins) February 20, 2013, 11:21 am

    Mandi, thanks so much for including me in this awesome post! I’m going to add a link to it in the Don’t Give Up post because it adds another, much-needed layer to the conversation.


    — Sarah

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 20, 2013, 11:38 am

    Awesome! Thanks, Sarah :) And it was my pleasure to include your post. Very well written and thoughtful.

  • avatar Cynthia Newcomer Daniel February 20, 2013, 11:48 am

    You just made my morning – knowing that you read my blog and carried something away from it means the world to me! Thank you for your beautiful post; today of all days, because I am working against some deadlines and fighting to let myself play with the beads instead of trying to force them to do something (anything!) to just get it over with.

    Creative spirits unite!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 20, 2013, 11:57 am

    Happy to make your morning! Creative spirits unite, indeed :) Thanks for your comment, and for writing such an inspiring post.

  • avatar Karen Shannon February 20, 2013, 2:39 pm

    Many years ago I joined a bead society and participated in a simple name badge challenge. There were so few entrants that I won 3rd place! I was teaching myself peyote for the first time on this project and it was rough. Yet I must admit I had no fear. I jumped at the challenge to see what I could do and how I’d measure up to others. You can imagine my delight when I placed 3rd! Another time I submitted a bracelet that I thought was really good to a bead magazine. It was rejected and I was surprised. However, I will not let this rejection prevent me from submitting more bracelets to them. As you said about Beethoven, 1 or 2 does not define us. I have always beaded for “me”. I enjoy the praise I get from friends and peers, but I never expect it. Beading is my creative outlet and if I am happy with my work, the praise of others only makes it that much sweeter. I do not feel fear because I am not competing with others. Even when I am! LOL I know there are better and worse beaders than myself. I am content with the pool I am in. I can learn from the better beaders and teach the ones who aren’t. Isn’t that what we all can do?

  • avatar Deborah Bergen February 20, 2013, 2:49 pm

    Funny I started on a loom when I was around 12 or so. I taught myself then later on moved to a reservation. I started learning new ways to bead. Then gave it up for years, it brought up memories I could not handle at the time, now I’m all about beading every way possible. Beading is truly in my heart I think of ways to make things day and night. Sometimes I make something put it down and the next thing I know it is in a magazine.
    So yes creative spirits unite right here. Thanks again!

  • avatar Bobbie Rafferty February 20, 2013, 2:52 pm

    You’re so completely spot-on! I always told my kids and my students, “If you’re not a little scared by an opportunity, it’s not really a chance to grow.” That doesn’t mean that you should run head first into every brick wall taht comes along, but you should be conscious that all growth involves challenge and a degree of discomfort (remember puberty? Talk about challenge and discomfort in growth!) Thanks for the reminder that we need to push our limits sometimes!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 20, 2013, 3:01 pm

    Karen, I love the way you think about this :) I’ve also submitted something that I was surprised when it wasn’t accepted. I will keep submitting. BTW you should pattern that bracelet you showed me with the skulls. I would buy it and make one!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 20, 2013, 3:05 pm

    Deborah, how funny that we both started around the same age with the same thing! Thanks for sharing your spirit with us.

    Bobbie, I’m glad that your kids and students have a positive influence like you to guide them! I would love to have learned some of this mindset stuff at a younger age, but I’m grateful to know it now.

  • avatar Marsha February 20, 2013, 4:00 pm

    I am working on a ridiculously elaborate Bead Dreams piece. I needed the deadline and reason to do it, because holy cow, there are 35-40 little 24 minute components in each of the 5 big components, not counting the other 10 to 25-ish other components which I have not begun yet because I can’t find the right bead. I was thinking today, I’m glad I’m doing this, but I’d never repeat it. I am a hobby beader, evenings and weekends, and I already have a plan for what to do with this piece when Bead Dreams does not take it, but still… glad for the reason to JUST DO IT!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 20, 2013, 4:19 pm

    Marsha, that sounds awesome and amazing, and I can’t wait to see it! Hooray for deadlines 😉

  • avatar AlexDFox February 20, 2013, 8:04 pm

    Hi Mandi,

    A very nice article. :)

    I like your thoughts on joining bead challenges, etc. One of the things I do miss from the bead & button days & the old bead circle, is the little challenges that everyone would work on every month. ^.^

    I still come across one of my bead pieces that I did around 5 years ago, still floating on-line. LOL I really do need to be come more active again.

    Thanks for the inspiring words & hopefully others will find the encouragement equally welcoming. :)

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