In his book Fearless Creating, Eric Maisel identifies the third stage of the creative process as Starting our work. Whenever we Start something, we need to make a Commitment to the next course of action.
But wait! How can we make a commitment to our work when we may be suffering from Weakened Mind Anxiety—the anxiety that walks hand-in-hand with Beginning to work? You know—those times when Negative Self-Talk enters into the door, uninvited, all slovenly from having rolled around in the dirt, and says, “Wait, wait! Are you sure you know what you’re going to do? What if it doesn’t turn out right? What if you find out this was a bad idea anyway?” And so on.
Let’s explore a few good strategies to feed this very normal anxiety—all of which involve summoning up Appropriate Strength, as a way to committing to begin working.
1) Start by making a list of fifteen active qualities that describe you as an artist. Write a little about each one. These are your strengths—the things you know you can count on when that anxious voice starts to get a little too loud.
2) Next, identify ways that you can commit to working in the moment. It is helpful to take baby steps here—things you can do in measurable increments…like…
- Choose five colors I will work with
- Set up my pastels or paints and easel.
- Block in a composition
- Lay down an underpainting
There are more tools that we can summon up to appropriately feed Weakened Mind Anxiety. The reality is that there are many opportunities to start (and restart) our work. The important thing is to accept that it is absolutely natural to experience uncertainty about what our art will look like at this stage of the creative process, and then commit to Starting anyway.
It can be extremely reassuring to understand the anxieties associated with each stage of the creative process and know how to respond to them appropriately. To find out more about all of this good stuff, contact Cyncie at artcoachingforyou.com