Saturday, March 07, 2009

Fear is part of the process

Are you working on a project that is intensely personal, perhaps it's saying more that you thought you could say, does it delve into the heart of the human condition? Are you scared witless? Good. Fear is an important part of the artistic process, and you need to listen to what it's telling you, and not give into the negative voices. That feeling of fear is a recognition that you have moved into action.

Many of us have the common experience of fear when learning to ride a bike. That first time you are cruising down the street and mom and dad have let go and you are on your own, oh, yes, fear is just wrapped around you heart like taunt string. But even if you fall, the rush of doing what you never done before, of independence, of success,these are now a part of the fabric of you.

Here's my best advice for fear. Recognize that it can't stop you. You are always the captain of your fate the master of destiny. I think living on your own terms is important. I'm going to stick with writers here, but this thought extends to all artists. Writers have layers of fear to navigate and it's take time and (my favorite word) perseverance to get through it, but the waters are navigable just not for the faint of heart.

The fear onion is complex. Once you get that layer of fear about publication out of the way. You have the much thicker layers of fear of the work to deal with. Can you create the story, draw out the story, that's hovering in your creative spirit? Will it just be awful, a waste of time and resources, or an amazing triumph that you don't feel worthy of? Have you chosen the right story?

Then you get into the fear layers of creating the work. Will you ever finish this thing? What happens when the thing that comes out is not the thing that you thought it was? What if this project is taking a really long time and though you have hundreds of pages of manuscript and its still a freaking mess? What if I'm not good enough? Oh, yes, we all hear stuff.

Inside me is a "Chicken Little" and she's running around screaming that the sky is falling. "Chill, Chicken Little." Folks, you've got to be careful. There are directions to go that will stop your work. Choose courage. Have some faith. Trust in the unknowable.

If you want to read a great book about art and fear, try this short 134-page book Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking written by David Bayles and Ted Orland.

Until next week, keep working. Seize the day.

My doodle of the week is "Story of the Stars."

Remember: ©Molly Blaisdell, all rights reserved. If you want to use my cool doodles, ask permission first. It is so wrong to take people's doodles without permission!

And my playlist hit for the week. "Time's they are a'changing" by Bob Dylan.

I always feel this deep connection with exploreres when I'm working. So my quote of the week comes from the determined folks who put a man on the moon.

The first of these factors is the compelling urge of man to explore and to discover, the thrust of curiosity that leads men to try to go where no one has gone before. Most of the surface of the earth has now been explored and men now turn on the exploration of outer space as their next objective from Introduction to Outer Space. A pamphlet from The White House. 1958.

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