Speak Kindly to Your Inner Artist
In my experience, loading on the pressure doesn’t help my inner artist to feel free to express herself. Beneath the weight of pressure and a resulting locked jaw and wide eyes, lie her deepest fears – perhaps I’m not good enough anyway, why even bother…
Shifting to a kinder inner radio channel, your inner artist will feel understood and tended to, rather than crushed and squeezed. It’s not easy or immediate, it takes practice and repetition. An inner cheerleader to bolster your sense of possibility will serve you much better than giving the mic to your inner critic and feeling the creeping dread as all inspiration leaves the room.
You can try to force creativity but it won’t feel good or flow well.
Keep remembering that it’s a process. A process with ebbs and flows and the need for time out. Take a break, return later or the next day and you’ll see/hear with a different perspective.
Focus is key but if you apply the same – ‘try harder’ – goal-driven approach to creativity that you might to other work, you could easily wind up with a disembodied sense of making art under stress. Possible but not preferable. Certainly not sustainable and rarely enjoyable.
Change It Up
We all have our tried and tested ways of approaching writing a song or beginning a new piece of creative work, whatever your medium. Try to begin somewhere new – the middle or the end. Try a different material. Mix up the approach you take. For example, I might improvise over a soundbed to find melodies and then lyrics. Or, I might first write a poem and make it melodious after that.
I find that the size of my to-do list for the day is a vital factor. If I keep it slim and get a few things sorted to clear the way and feel productive and capable, then I can get into my creative work without feeling like there’s a mountain of tasks I’m way behind on. If you, too, struggle to switch out of ‘doing’ mode – check out how much space you’re giving yourself to get into the zone and create. If, being honest, it’s an unrealistic plan, you may be stitching yourself up so that you repeatedly don’t get around to it because there are too many other demands that you are prioritising.
To build trust with and nurture a relationship with my inner artist, I recognise that she needs space and she needs to feel that I am reliable, loyal and steadfast. I have cast her aside repeatedly to focus on quicker, smaller tasks that give me a dopamine spike. I need to rebuild trust with her by tending to her often and allowing her to stretch out rather than squeezing her into a crease of the day and then being surprised that I feel anything but creative.
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