Overcoming My Fears As An Artist

09 May

After reflecting on my post, “How Does My Talent Fit Into My Life Plan?”,  I have decided that the only way I would know how this relationship with me and poetry will end, is to again become an active participant with the art form. 

Since posting, I have re-engaged with poetry by performing, writing, reading, listening and watching others perform. 

I am going to make a decision about me and poetry using logic instead of fear. By stepping away from the art form, I have prevented myself from using sound judgement to make a decision. 

It dawned on me that I had not actually agreed on my personal idea of success as it relates to poetry. Although, I will always write and perform, I am at the crossroads of deciding exactly how much intentional time I will be giving to this component of my life. By re-envisioning how I want to be known in the world of poetry, I am able to develop my talent more efficiently. 

I realize that I was also isolating my experience with poetry to artist and audiences I was already familiar with. I found myself comparing my talents to only those that have performed on Def Poetry Jam or like artists. By not setting clear expectations for my idea of success, I deemed myself a failure. 

After performing at a local set (poetry event) put on by Students for Justice in Palestine at the School of the Art Institute (Chicago), I realized that I have not been exploring enough spoken word poets, nor have I been considering a diverse audience. At this particular event, there were Jewish poets, white poets, me, and a Palestinian poet. That night, we all spoke about justice and told stories about our tragic realities.

Ultimately, I have limited myself to a particular style of spoken word by not thinking of myself as an artist. There are several genres of music, pop, hip-hop, R & B, etc. There are also different styles of spoken word that is geared toward a particular audience OR even a different cause, which means, there is a place for me. 

Simply put, moving forward, I am facing this battle head on. These are the steps I have taken to overcome my fear: 

1-     Identified the fear- Does poetry fit into my current life. Is it worth my continued investment?

2-    I decided to commit to exploring my relationship with poetry over the next 3 months. The only way that I can know HOW to continue with this art form is to perform in a variety of venues. I have already stepped out and performed at the Green Mill, a Chicago Gem that has been hosting open-mic nights every Sunday for 10 years. 

That’s it! It was actually two very easy steps, that in the long run, will allow me to make a decision I am confident with based on experience instead of fear. 

What steps do you take to overcome your fears? 

Below is a web entry that pertains to overcoming your fears. This entry provides in-depth tactics on how to look within and take the big leap.


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4 responses to “Overcoming My Fears As An Artist

  1. K. SIDNEY

    May 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I was getting ready to give up on rapping several times earlier this year, but then I had to ask myself a very serious question: if I didn’t have any bills, debt, or any other financial obligations, what would I do with myself? My answers were write and workout. Once you strip away the idea of money and/or fame, then you truly realize what it is you were put here to do.

    • Ashley S.C. Walls

      May 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      I do believe that with your suggestion you can begin to figure out what you truly desire to do, but it is another thing to overcome the fear of doing it or being successful at what you seek to do. Self-doubt and worry about how others perceive your talent can make you doubt your ability. I overcame that fear by expanding my understanding of poetry as an art form.

  2. Marilyn

    May 16, 2011 at 11:27 am

    1. Follow your heart
    2. Identify a Specific Outcome and make a plan working thru the steps backwards.
    3.Ignore your Fear and Do the opposite of what ur fear is telling you. Remeber that your Fear is not the Truth so dont give it Power.
    4. Share your Fears and accomplishments with your team 😉

  3. Ashley S.C. Walls

    May 16, 2011 at 1:52 pm


    I like the suggestion to start with the plan backwards. It is so important to have a clear destination or end product in mind.

    Fear is NOT the truth!


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