Ship it.

I’ve doodled throughout my life. From loving art at A level, to taking a portrait drawing class at Putney School of Art school, to life drawing in Sydney (and now here); from a dabble in watercolours to oil painting. Making marks onto paper and canvas is something I’ve always loved to do. It’s something I have to do. Not in a professional way, just in a “I like doing it” kind of way.

It’s a human thing to want to create and make things for pleasure. There’s a certain mindfulness in getting lost while scratching a creative itch. Of late there’s been a renaissance in knitting, stitching and crocheting. But whilst we make and create things, we often feel that it’s not good enough to exhibit or show to the world.

I’ve tried a few times to do a daily doodle, posting the efforts to Instagram, but the days comes when I lack inspiration, or I’m doing the same thing again or I just wonder — are people actually interested in this stuff?

But part of me wants to keep trying to get my creativity out. And I often think of what Seth Godin says about the need to ship your work. That it’s not enough to simply create something, but you have to send your projects out there into the world. In one of his blogs he writes :

It’s not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human.

Whether you’re a maker, a knitter, a photographer, a designer, an entrepreneur, a shop owner, it can be scary to say “I’ve done this”. It is risky to show our work, but “shipping” — putting your work out there — is part of the process.

Shipping is about acknowledging the fear of failure (not being good enough) and getting past it. It’s about trying to wrangle with the worry that people might not like it, and do it anyway. It’s a little bit about exerting our sense of self, pushing a bit more of ourselves out into the world instead of keeping it safely hidden.

So when the wonderful Peter Smith asked his Friday morning painting group, would we like to be in a small exhibition as part of the wonderful Leigh Art Trail, I said I would. I get to ship and that feels good.


If you live near Westcliff on Sea and fancy looking at the work of the group, we’re at Westcliff United Reformed Church SS0 8PP from 10th to 17th June. http://www.leigharttrail.com/