artist's way reflections: week two

September 12, 2008 | 1 Comment

I admire, and crave, the freedom my children have when it comes to expressing themselves. My oldest daughter doesn’t need to be called an artist to color, or a ballerina to dance. My younger daughter doesn’t need to be called a soloist to sing, or a comedian to crack a joke. Creatively expressing themselves is just a part of who they are.

Something happens as we grow older and we lose that innocence. To give myself the label of a designer or a writer is to invite my skeptic to speak. To name myself as an artist of any kind means that I have some kind of minimum standard I have to meet to qualify for that title. But I am the one that defines that minimum standard, and I usually place that standard just a notch or two above where I am.

So this week, I’ve been learning to tell that internal skeptic to shut up. If I want to say that I am a designer, then yes I am. If I want to say that I am a writer, then yes I am. If I want to say that I am a ballerina…well, I’m not going to go that far.

A few thoughts that have stuck with me from this week’s reading:

  • To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. — Robert Louis Stevenson (pg. 43)
  • You will discover the joy of practicing your creativity. The process, not the product, will become your focus. (pg. 44)
  • Perhaps the greatest barrier for any of us as we look for an expanded life is our own deeply held skepticism. This might be called the secret doubt. (pg. 49)
  • we need to gently set aside our sketpicism — for later use, if we need it — and when a weird idea or coincidence whizzes by, we gently nudge the door a little further open. (pg. 51)
  • So well put. I also tend to set the bar too high, condemning myself to failure. But recently I’ve experienced that monumental shift from focusing on the outcome to focusing on the process. Before I couldn’t write or play piano because I knew I’d never write a novel or be able to play a ballade by Chopin. Now I don’t care because I’m actually writing and singing and that’s way more fun than thinking about how I’ll never “accomplish” anything with my writing or music. I’m allowing myself to create without having to “prove” myself. Life is good.

    ThinkingWomans last blog post..The Artist’s Way: Week Two: thoughts at midweek