Creative people who wish to create consistently face a double challenge: the challenge of following their dream while also facing a potentially harsh reality and bringing their work to life. Eric Maisel, creativity expert and author of Coaching the Artist Within, highlights the importance of maintaining a focused equilibrium between these two aspects of living the creative life.
Finding Balance: the Dream vs. Reality
Maisel suggests you thoughtfully consider the following:
Which is More Difficult?
Do you need to work harder at keeping it real and doing the actual work — or at remembering why you thought this is a worthwhile thing to be doing, affirming this as a way of making meaning? Maybe you skip back and forth, one day needing a meaning boost, another day needing a little “get real and get to work!” boost.
Courage to Dream, Courage to Do
Very often creative people set out with a highly idealistic vision or dream, but the dream is quickly crushed when reality sets in. At that point, hope may be lost, too. It takes so much courage to keep polishing the dream, to breathe life into it each and every day. It also takes courage to reality test the dream each and every day, working on the dream in such a way that it can take on form and shape and become real.
Honor the Dream, Honor the Process
Maisel suggests you keep your dream alive by writing about it in an affirming way, perhaps a sentence or a paragraph, every day. Remember to polish your dream and honor it because the world is likely going to reality test it often and a lot. At the same time, your job in reality testing is to make your goals and plans in a do-able, work-able, scheme. (If you are a Morning Pages fan, as Julia Cameron recommends in The Artist’s Way, this might be a topic to consider during your daily practice.)
What’s the Next Step?
Once again, as Maisel stresses throughout this self-coaching manual, it is imperative that you look clearly at your dream in terms of taking the next step toward making it real.
“Would-be creators and blocked creators dream about magical cures. There are none. There are only small, real honest things to try….What you must say to yourself is, ‘One step, then another.’ If you can take those first steps, you may find yourself running.”
So what is your next step, large or small or micro-step, toward fulfilling your creative dream?
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