According to Julia Cameron, many creative people spend years mislabeling themselves. When we do not create the way we think we should, we label ourselves lazy when in fact we are blocked by fear. The way past fear, asserts Cameron, is through love for your inner artist. Your inner artist is like a child in need of understanding, nurturing and encouragement; your inner artist child needs love and compassion.
What Do You Fear?
In more compassionate terms, when artists suffer blocking we are more accurately frozen by fear. We might fear failure or we might fear success. We fear not being good enough to warrant the creative choices we have made or have wanted to make, we procrastinate out of fear in every permutation you can think of. We might describe ourselves as mired in regret or self contempt or jealousy or perfectionism or full of doubt or whatever constitutes our personal version of that horrific stuck place. We might even be tuning out and dulling our creativity to avoid feeling the fear.
Fight Fear with Joy
You might wrongly assume that the optimal way to force yourself to create regularly is through harsh, self imposed discipline and rigor. Not so. Writing in her creativity manual The Artist’s Way, Cameron assures us that the way to creating freely is through enthusiasm for what we do:
“Enthusiasm is not an emotional state. It is a spiritual commitment, a loving surrender to our creative process, a loving recognition of all the creativity around us.”
The Spirit of Play
In this sense, the daily appointment with your creative project is approached more in the spirit of a joyful play date with your creativity rather than a stern, mandatory work session.
Think of the joy and enthusiasm and excitement you experience on your weekly Artist Date and bring that sense of playful pleasure to your work every day. (You are doing your Artist’s Date every week, right?!)
Your Next Play Date
What’s the right next small step in your creative process? How could you play around with your art today? What fun thing could you be doing right now? If not now, when will you fight that creativity blocking fear with love?
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