Most of the time, I am painting, drawing or writing for Myself- and Myself thinks the products from that creativity are awesome in every way. No problem there. However, more and more frequently, I am commissioned to do something for someone else and am therefore getting paid for that creativity either by someone buying the finished product, or by someone commissioning something. That is when the ugly horns of Low Self Esteem attach themselves to my head and refuse to budge.
I am not, in general, a person for whom low self esteem is a problem. Not since I got out of college, became comfortable in my own skin, stopped caring what everyone else thought, and started realizing that, well...I like myself. So why is it that when I paint something for myself, I think its great; but when someone else is paying for it, I feel like its not good enough, or I feel the need to apologize for it in some way. Sometimes, the price I think my time is worth starts getting lower and lower in my head until if I let it go, I would be paying them to take the finished product.
Why do I feel like its good enough for me, but not good enough for someone else to spend money on.
All of this makes setting a price difficult for me. "I mean, just because you spent three hours of your time on it, doesn't mean that someone would want to pay what you feel your time is worth", my Head says, "because what if it doesn't look like you spent that much time on it" or "What if the finished product isn't exactly what they had in mind when they commissioned it?"
My time is important to me. At this stage in my life, if I'm working on a project for someone, most of the time I'm doing it at the expense of time with my son or family. This is a beneficial trade off- because my creative life is important and nurtures my soul- so I'm not begrudging that at all. I'm just saying that my time comes at a price, and I should honor that price by charging accordingly.
I paint well. Things look like what I intend them to be, and the finished products are quality. I should honor that by charging accordingly.
Not by overcharging, but by charging what's fair, and most of all- by giving the finished product its due respect in my own mind.
I'm reading a book right now, that I got years ago, but recently rediscovered. Its called Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of The Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I will discuss it more in a book post, but she has a chapter devoted to the discussion of creativity that is especially relevant to this issue of undervaluing one's creative life. I will probably read this one chapter again and again- hoping that the ideas will sink in replace the current negative revolving thought patterns, ones that undervalue the products of my creativity and pick at imagined artistic faults.
Here's to running with the wolves.