Art and Creativity Coaching Articles
I was lacking a vital component that successful people obviously had.
I used to believe all this stuff … for years! I thought that the reason why I wasn’t successful or why I couldn’t write consistently was because I didn’t know that secret. I was lacking a vital component that successful people obviously had. I was stuck in bemoaning my lack, my fatal flaw that would forever keep me stuck.
And then something weird happened. I became unstuck. And my inspiration, the fulcrum to lever my arse into my desk chair, was watching Californication! Alongside copious amounts of sex, this series depicts the agonising struggles of a published writer trying to produce another publishable tome. He fails spectacularly and has to start again from scratch. Cut to shots of him looking wretched and sucked dry (excuse the pun) as he banged away (excuse the pun) at his typewriter. He never once made it look easy. He never once skipped gaily to his agent with a beribboned manuscript under his arm. His manuscripts were stained with the blood, sweat and tears of his efforts. It was damn hard work. And I loved it. I loved it every time he failed because firstly, he normalised failure! We are meant to have failures!! His failures didn’t stop him from being a writer (his identity) nor stop his writing (his craft). Failure is part of the journey. After he failed he started again!
The best advice I ever heard for someone who has written “The End” is to immediately start the next piece. The same goes for the sucker punch ending of a failure. Never pause and rest on your laurels thinking, “Job done! No sweat!” or “I’ve failed. I should just give up!” The job is never done, there will always be failures, and there should be plenty of sweat or you’re not doing it right! [TWEET THIS: Never rest on your laurels. The job is never done & there should be plenty of sweat or you’re not doing it right! @MavKuhn]
The formula for success isn’t catchy!
The formula for success isn’t “If you want it hard enough, the universe will give it to you.” It’s more like, “Work consistently every day, make it your lover, your priority and then you might get the chance to mud wrestle the universe into providing you with opportunities and potential that you must still work to pursue, fulfil and manifest. And yes, you will fail sometimes.” Not very catchy, is it?
…half-way to Shangri-La is still the middle of nowhere!
Yes, you need a clear vision of where you’re going – single-mindedness is key. If you’re only half convinced or worse, clueless about your final destination, the chances are that you will only get half-way there: and half-way to Shangri-La is still the middle of nowhere!
…existential tantrums … can emerge as depression, mood swings, anxiety and the triumph of the inner critic.
But we are not or should no longer be children in thinking that if we want IT badly enough it should “by rights” be ours. Such unrealistic and frankly narcissistic thinking can only presage a tantrum when it doesn’t manifest on cue; existential tantrums that can emerge as depression, mood swings, anxiety and the triumph of the inner critic. All of which is like poison to the roots of creativity. So many creatives (and in that group I include the label “entrepreneur” as artists, writers and musicians usually have to be both!) fall into the trap of cycling through toddler-like insistence that if they want it with all their might the universe will smooth the way and provide it on a silver platter -> to realising it isn’t that easy -> to deflation and sullen sulkiness that it’s hard going, then (the crucial point) -> to blaming themselves for obviously not showing the universe how much they wanted it (the inner critic triumphs again!) OR (the key to escaping the cycle) -> deciding there are rules and tools and techniques that have to be worked and mastered and that the “real work” must begin every day – whatever that may be for your niche, but it usually involves:
Sharing your skill with others either for kicks or for a price will bring about an incredible change in your sense of identity and marks the difference between amateur and professional: from being the closet bedroom writer, for example, to standing by your work and saying “I am a Writer” in public. Scared? That’s normal. It shows it’s important to you!
Rarely will it be a straight-line journey from beginner to professional. Each person’s idea of success varies. Sometimes the brilliant fail and the mediocre succeed. Life isn’t fair like that. There are no just rewards, no karmic bonus points, no “by rights I’ve earned it”. You have no “right” to success…
Just as sex, when done right, is a messy business, so is creating. Unlike sex, when done right, creating will often be hard work.
©Mav Kühn 2016
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