I've been reading a book titled "Coaching the Artist Within" by Eric Maisel. I am now on Skill Three: Getting a Grip on your Mind.
At first I was thinking, "Oh, I've heard all that negative self-talk stuff before." But - as what sometimes happens with me -- after sleeping on it, this morning I had one of those peculiar "OMG" moments, you know, the kind with the embarrassed red face that goes with it.
As I have mentioned before, I'm taking an on-line art marketing class, and I asked a question that I already had the answer for but had forgotten about. It pertained to an e-book I had downloaded a year ago and skimmed through, looking for the information I needed at that moment, and not really paying attention to the rest of the content.
Now bear with me, this is going to connect in a moment.
Eric had been writing about the importance of "noticing anxious self-talk" as a way of recognizing when anxiety over the creative process emerges in seemlingly innocent thoughts. The "linguistic ruses," he said, could be incredibly subtle. I was certain I had recognized all of mine long ago, but then I had the "OMG" moment.
Here is the biggest little bugger, expressed in Maisel's format, with the thought and the additional "ruses":
1. "I need that resource."
I'm sure the answer is hidden in that book.
I have to keep on the cutting edge or I'll be left behind.
I know that class, or an MFA degree, or a membership in a particular organization will provide me with the answer that I'm seeking.
I deal with my anxiety about creating by relying heavily on the idea that "the correct information is out there somewhere, if only I could just find it!" I keep looking outside myself for the magic answer, and I have used this seemingly rational thinking for most of my life as a valid excuse for not creating art or taking art risks.
As a result, my studio is a total mess ( not entirely due to the point of this blog, but that's another post), my book shelves contain so much duplicate information from various authors I can't find what I want, and when I look at cleaning up the clutter it's just too overwhelming and I go away and take a nap.
Now, I'm not discounting the valuable grounding I received through my education and the experiences I had in Italy. They were vital to my inner identity as an artist. But what Eric Maisel helped me to recognize is that I have all the information I need, and I must nurture the courage to apply it.
I think what Eric Maisel might suggest if he were my career coach is that when I recognize the impulse to buy "just one more book" that I stop for a moment and breathe in deeply. Then repeat to myself a mantra.
I've come up with this: "I have all the knowledge that I need." Followed by: "I know what to do."
Here is the new work in progress: A new poured piece.