Going on despite beginner’s doubt

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 6

People help define our reality. This is an exercise that is difficult for me because it is about asking for help and I don’t like asking for help. I always feel like I’m burdening people when I do. Amanda Palmer’s book is scary for me.

Today’s task, on Natalie’s blog challenge, is to figure out who two ideal mentors would be. I didn’t think the exercise would be difficult. I mean, people who are already where you want to be, who can give you tips, how hard is that to find ? I realized I was stuck. It was not that I couldn’t think about people I want to resemble more, it was thinking of them as mentors rather than models that proved difficult.

I ended up choosing people who have reached the artistic career I’m aiming for. I don’t know if that’s the smartest thing, but I couldn’t figure out why I’d choose to aim low ?

1.Neil Gaiman

Not only is he a great writer, Neil Gaiman is also a model of authenticity. He built his reputation and career around his very own universe, always respecting his own voice and imaginary world, never compromising.
For a long while, I was looking to be the person I thought people wanted me to be, especially in writing. I was trying hard to decode what I was expected to be, until the point when I understood that the only thing that I was expected to be was me.

If I had a chance to meet Neil Gaiman, I’d ask him how he managed to remains so true to himself, so respectful of his personal universe. Was there any fear along the way ? Did he doubt himself ? (he says he still does) and how did he deal with it ? I wouldn’t ask for writing advice or regular “how do you get published advice” but for advice on how to keep going when you’re beginning, when no one knows who you are, when you’re overridden with doubt.

2. William Sheller

In 2016, this french musician, composer and songwriter received a lifetime award for his forty-year career. His whole artistic life has been centered around making his own music, often experimenting with genres, from rock to classical, from a psychedelic opera to a japanese inspired epics. His songs are highly story-focused and he has been doing pretty much what he’s wanted to do for forty years.

This is – in music – the career I want to achieve in books and movies. His songs have been part of the soundtrack of my childhood and a lot of his lyrics have become personal mantras. This seems to be a man who’s defined his own life and has lived it without drama, discreetly, pouring out song after song and gathering a loyal following.

If I was to meet him, I’d just want to ask him about his creative process. Is it fluid ? Is it convoluted ? How did he keep evolving through time ? Was it a deliberate research or did it happen ? How does he live ? How was it when he was beginning ? Did he struggle ? How do you keep going on through the struggle ?


My need for a mentor right now seems to focus around the question: how do you keep doing your work when you haven’t broken through, yet ? Where do you find the drive, the energy, the faith to go on ?