Survival Is Proof of Adequacy

Last week, I felt really inadequate.

With Aurelia ending, a new chapter of my creative life begins, and facing that blank page is always daunting. Sure, the new stories on my plate are exciting. Powerful. More ambitious than any I’ve previously undertaken, with more potential to connect with audiences . . .

And way more possibilities for me to screw them up.

Fortunately, in the midst of my confidence crisis, I  attended the Flyway Film Festival in Pepin, WI. Tucked among the bluffs of the upper Mississippi, this small-town labor of love attracts independent filmmakers from around the nation. Throughout the festival I was challenged by other artists who (against all odds!) conceive, birth, and raise incredible films without traditional support.

In particular, opening gala speaker Emily Best (cofounder of Seed&Spark) kicked my self-doubts in the backside with her simple call to action:

“Cultivate a life defined by self-sufficiency.”

Invoking Pepin’s most famous resident—pioneer/writer Laura Ingalls Wilder—Best drew parallels between a homesteader’s life and an independent creator’s. Hunters. Farmers.  Tailors. Candlemakers. Blacksmiths. Caretakers. Like the original “Hipster hyphenates,” the Ingalls family wore these and many other “hats” in their quest for day-to-day survival.

So it is with independent creators. After all, existential questions and angsty self-doubt don’t produce food (or art!). There’s no room for second guessing when you are responsible for everything from concept to distribution.

The only way for art to flourish is for the artist to do each task, get better at it, and move on.

I left Flyway more determined than ever to cultivate the skills to bring my art to my audience. The story of my next chapter may be unknown, but by tackling it, I will find the words to tell it.

Survival is its own proof of adequacy.

4 thoughts on “Survival Is Proof of Adequacy

  1. thanks for these words!! self-sufficiency can be daunting process. one really needs to keep pushing oneself despite doubts and even ‘existential questions’ which seems to feed doubts yet remains an angst all its own. hopefully all these reminders and my own effort will bring the fruit that i hope/long for.
    all the best with your own work!!


    • So true! I think in some ways we artists need that angst in order to create at all, but like anything else, it can become an enemy when it gets out of balance. Glad you found the post helpful, and thanks for stopping by!


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