Don’t Do Your Best

The perfectionist artist is constantly near or in that mindset where one has built up internal expectations extraordinarily high because it’s been so long between creative output. Because one hasn’t created anything in a long time, somehow the belief that the very next creation needs to somehow “make up for lost time”.

I suspect it’s yet another subconscious procrastination technique designed to hold off the feared judgment of the results. Again, the perfectionist fears results because they have come overidentify themselves with their creations. A negative judgement on the creation is seen as a negative judgment of the self. Curiously, the perfectionist never seems to place the same validity on positive feedback, nor give it equal importance. No doubt a result of the negativity bias of the brain. In other words, it’s not “you”, it’s just an artifact of how the brain works.

Yes, yet another insidious form of Resistance. But there is a solution   Continue reading “Don’t Do Your Best”

Indifference Guru

One of the demons I’ve had to repeatedly face along my path of creating and sharing my artwork on a daily basis has the indifference to which the creations are received. I know that far more followers on various social media outlets see these posts than do those who interact with them (like, star, fave, etc) because other, non-art posts on those services get that kind of interaction. Not a ton, but enough to contrast that which the art gets.

As a recovering over-identifying artist, this can be a constant jab at the ego. In a way, this was one of the things I wanted to face directly with this practice. Increased production requires the relinquishment of other consumption habits. Social media was an early time-sink that I let go. You discover quickly how tenuous those connections actually were when there isn’t a mutually-flowing dopamine reward of recognition maintained. As Stephen Pressfield says in “The War of Art“, “There is no tribe”.

After a recent vacuum of response from a posted drawing, again the hurt ego reared up and attempted to begin the indignant tirade against its perceived oppressors. But a thought crept in, which slowly defused this rant. I had really been enjoying this last round of art creation. I felt at home, in a style which came easily and allowed me to create more. I knew there was something deeper going on here.  Continue reading “Indifference Guru”

An Artist Is A Process

I have suffered for some time under the illusion that “being an artist” was a goal. A thing. An identity. It’s not. An artist is a byproduct of the process of creating art.

There is no such thing as “being an artist”. You can be “someone who creates art”, but an artist is really a verb. It’s a pattern. To paraphrase Alan Watts, it’s like this whirlpool in a river — not made of this water or that water, but rather of the pattern of energy. The water only flows through that energy pattern which is the actual whirlpool. Thus, an artist too is this whirlpool, this pattern of energy, and art flows through it.

Continue reading “An Artist Is A Process”

Pursuing Passion

This post by David Seah brings up some interesting thoughts on the concept of pursuing your passions. He questions if he’s actually found his passion, and if so, why is it not flowing naturally? Seah mentions “The War of Art” which tells us—if Pressfield is correct in his theory—that it’s not going to be an easy road.

I’ve often wondered myself if I have misidentified what exactly my passion is. I’ve always assume that it is “art”, but what if it isn’t? You can’t get any more vague than just calling it “art”. Have I focused on the wrong niche?

Continue reading “Pursuing Passion”

The War of Art: An Artist’s User Manual

The War of Art” by Stephen Pressfield has popped up on my radar for a while now, and I finally got around to picking up a copy. I liked it so much, I got the audiobook version as well.

I’m going to start off by quoting my own review over on GoodReads:

Pressfield seems to have distilled the essence of the creative blocks we face, and provides some valid advice for moving past them. This book is succinct, not short. At first the small chapters we off-putting, but after completing the book I realized that this could be read in one sitting, and I think it was designed that way.

Less of a how-to book and more of a lens to help focus. I found myself nodding in agreement as well as reframing and understanding events, thoughts and choices I’ve made in the past (and those I’m resisting in the present) in a new light.

Pressfield has written a book that feels like someone took all the vague thoughts you’ve had as an artist about being an artist, and put them together in a way that’s both universal and personal. Less inspirational and more of a user manual.

Continue reading “The War of Art: An Artist’s User Manual”