Recently an artist told me: "I’m so worried about what I’m not doing, that I forget what I’ve already done."
This anxiety is especially prevalent now. Many artists are stuck, wondering how to justify spending their days developing their own art practice, when so many crises in the news clamor for attention.
When you are feeling stressed, give structure and purpose to your creative life. Set simple goals for the week. Look back at what you managed to accomplish yesterday, and give yourself credit. You may have spent a few hours in the studio, even though you haven’t yet completed anything. Maybe you learned a new skill or experimented with a new process. Some artists are learning how to make the transition to the virtual art world, by taking or teaching classes online, or entering virtual exhibitions, or staying connected by participating in virtual art fairs.
It is also OK to just focus on developing your art. When the noise of the world intrudes, remember the advice of Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. She suggests starting the day with "morning pages," one of her tools for creative recovery. You write out three pages, in longhand, every morning, about what you are thinking and feeling. You don’t critique the pages or even reread them. This habit is especially helpful during stressful times. The morning pages drain your brain of thoughts that might get in the way of making art. Many artists find it helpful to include visual images, sketches or drawings of how you are feeling, rather than just words.
Then give yourself permission to be an artist, in any way that comes naturally. Your own creativity will bring positive energy back into a world that badly needs it.
Mary Edwards, Ph.D
Career & Life Coach for Artists
“Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
As an artist coach, I bring a unique combination of business knowledge, art world experience, and professional coaching skill to my practice.