In my last blog post I talked about what happens when you decide NOT to do a long-planned project. I suggested that something else might open up in the space it used to occupy. This can happen naturally, but sometimes artists need to tease out the new.
How do you do this? First, follow the advice of Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizational expert. She created an international business by helping people get rid of possessions that no longer “spark joy.” Her method is odd but effective: hold each item in your hands, acknowledge the need it satisfied, and then say good-bye. If you do this with the project you’re about to abandon, you’ll be clearing space for something new.
As you think about the project, identify what it meant to you. Whether half realized or barely begun, at one time your project expressed your values and needs. It might have been a new art series, or a way to earn income, or a way to give back to your community, or perhaps all of the above As you say good-bye to the project, ask yourself what was missing. Why didn’t it spark joy in you?
As time passes, it may seem that nothing new will appear. Remember what nature teaches us about the creative process. In a dry season, many plants that are fed by underground streams look dead. Their branches are brown, without any signs of life. Yet slowly small green leaves begin to appear, and eventually there will be flowers.
I always say that artists are like perennial plants. Your deep roots of creativity are alive, even in the darkest Winter. Give your new vision the time and space and effort it requires, and then look for the first signs of growth.
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.