Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fighting the beast within

I remember as a child, sitting on the couch inside the house on a beautiful sunny day....I remember being so happy, drawing with so many colours and feeling totally content in my little dream world. Then my mum comes in takes away my precious drawings and demands that I go outside to play...."a sunny day is not to be wasted doing silly drawings" she said!

Somehow this little scene pops into my mind whenever I make a move to do something "creative".

I always seem to have other more important things to do and funnily enough I have surrounded myself with loved one's that also do not value the "crafty" side of life (or is that just my warped perception??).

There is a really deep hole in my being and I know that it is the perfect space for my creative light to shine and fill but to be totally honest, I just do not know where to begin.

I have spent so many years convincing myself that I am totally incapable of doing anything creative with my hands, that to now convince myself otherwise is very challenging.... daunting actually.
I have created this super strong inner critic, this anti-creativity monster and I am not sure if I have the energy to defeat this beast within.

I look at other blogs which are filled with fabulously beautiful creations and I experience envy, sadness and hopelessness....
I do keep these blogs close at hand with the idea of using the helpful hints offered, but even as I am pressing the "add link" button, I can hear the hideous laugh of the beast within and smell his disgusting breath as he whispers....."you will never manage anything like that".

So, I know I need to slay this beast.... obviously no white knight is going to ride along on his stallion and do it for me.
The question is how?????

Any suggestions?


  1. oh goodness, i can identify with the negative voice that says you aren't creative and all these other people out there can and you can't.

    i would like to start by saying in my point of view you have already begun. this blog itself is your creation. you are expressing yourself with every word you write. and to me, this is creativity. you sharing yourself with the world. showing us what you see, what you feel.

    creativity beyond that, i'm not a big producer of really creative stuff either compared to some of these amazing women out here in the blogosphere. but i've heard many mention that the book "the artist's way" has helped them deal with the very issues you mention. especially combatting that inner critic.

    wishing you well as you work to unleash everything you have inside you want to let out and silencing that inner demon~

  2. My mother encouraged me to be artistic in certain ways (like drawing, or writing poems), but I wanted to dance and she stopped my dance lessons when I was six. And I wanted to play a musical instrument, but never got my chance until my dad bought her a piano. By then I was sixteen and felt I couldn't get very far. I took up dance lessons, and even minored in dance at college, but when I left school, I left the dance behind. Since I was a child, until just recently, my heart has ached any time I saw a dance or music performance. Now, it still hurts a little, but I know that I can make it happen if I set my mind to it. I just have to find the right time for it. I'm busy now doing other things I've always wanted to do, so I am content for the time being. But I imagine the time will return again that I have a burning desire to dance or play music. Then I will have to get into it again. I still dream of having a big house with a dance studio in it, and a piano. And maybe one day learning violin. It's never too late, right? Even if I am 50 before I get around to it, I'll still do it.

    As you know I've recently taken on knitting. I didn't have time for it, really. So I pushed other activities aside so I can work on it. The scarf I am working on has so many mistakes in it, but I just keep going and I am thrilled that I am actually knitting something.

    I am convinced that if a person has a strong desire to do something, then they are indeed capable of it. Probably meant to do it, even. Do what you have to do to slay that beast. I've realized that perfectionism is something that holds me back a lot. Could this be something you have, too? Afraid of trying because it might not turn out so great? It doesn't matter how it turns out as long as you enjoy doing it. Go for it!

  3. I just hopped over to the Organic Sister's blog to catch up on comments and saw your comment on her post about creativity. How ironic! So if you are going to travel but want to do something crafty, you could try knitting, as all you need is a pair of needles and some yarn (for a simple project, anyway). Or you could try making jewelry with beads. Or get a card-making kit. Or maybe a pressed flower kit and collect leaves and flowers from your travels.

  4. Thanks for the lovely support comments....Edenwild, thanks for the suggestions too....pressing stuff and making cards could be a good solution :)

  5. Oh, but I could write volumes - and, in fact, have on the slaying of the anti-creativity monster!! The thing is, it's fairly immortal so the best solution, I've found, is to reach some sort of truce with it.

    Perfectionism is my Achilles heel for sure...if it isn't going to be absolutely top-notch perfect, then I don't want to do it. Not anymore though..I'm learning to let go of that.

    Definitely, The Artist's Way has helped me...more than anything else so far..but certainly, it's an ongoing process to find value in something that we've been constantly told doesn't have any...

    I have absolute faith that you can do it though...:)

  6. The art course I'm doing has a particular focus on challenging all things that preclude doing art and creativity, especially the beast within ourselves, and everyone has one, especially if we were schooled. In fact the whole course is like a journey of self and creative freedom.
    The answer to how? Just do it!
    Really, just go, go, go and do it. And keep doing it. Whatever that means. Get lots of colours and paper and draw, when that voice comes, just be aware of it and let it come and go, and keep drawing, or doing whatever you want! Have fun with it. It will evolve. Nothing is trivial, just start. Don't judge yourself in what you are doing, even if it seems completely childish, but this is the key, to regain that childlike state, just like you were drawing on that sunny day before it ended.
    Here is the website of the school, there might be a good article they have on the subject...

    Right! Off to go draw, I am suffering withdrawl symptoms not having done it for so long.

  7. Just jump in! My best advice. I never "plan" a creation, I just let it speak to me as I go along. Seriously, find your muse, that little spark and go for it!


  8. Just getting caught up here, congrats on your PHd review, I would love to hear more about it.
    I can definitely relate to this post. I also do not really consider myself creative. Interestingly, it is art projects with my kids that has freed me up a bit. My eldest girl, 5 years old, could do arts and crafts all day long, and so doing that with her has really helped me find a certain enjoyment in it. I doubt I will ever be sewing my own quilts and the like, but personally I am OK with that.

  9. You've got some great comments already. :)

    Another point.... don't think for a minute that every piece of creativity in blogland got there effortlessly. Did the mother fight tooth and nail for the time? Did she neglect other areas of her life? Is she going into debt with the art supplies? Does she stress over the burden of producing more greatness for her blog readers?


    My point is to NEVER compare yourself with others, especially in the blogosphere.

    I adore crocheting, and I'm not great at it. I just do it. Point - enjoy the process.
    Letting go of perfectionism and embracing the process means I'm creating a cardigan. Me!

    Because of the childhood fear, you need to begin there - believing that the process has value. As far as spiritual/personal growth and fullfilment goes, the end product is almost superfulous.

    Stick bits of paper together, throw some clay around, knit/crochet endless rows.... remember that mindless FUN back in the early childhood days?

  10. Great responses already...great reminders. I try to simply revel in the meeting of time & spark...when I'm lucky enough to have the two come together!

    I keep a picture of my highly critical mother on my bead table, and tell her "I'm not talking to you right now!" :) This kind of happened by accident, but it works!

    And, yay, you're already doing it with this blog!

  11. I just wrote a post about 'playing' and how as adults we need to play too. It kind of ties-in with your creativity discussion. I think you need to do whatever you enjoy for the sole purpose of enjoyment and not worry about how perfect the end result is. The experience and the 'doing' is what takes your mind off other things and gets you absorbed in something you're excited about. Try not to have expectations of what you want to achieve but get lost in time and have fun with whatever activity you fancy!

  12. I just love this blogging stuff! I get more support from you, my fellow bloggers than anyone else!
    Thank you all for the great ideas and points, I am already feeling much better about where I am and how to begin :)

  13. Hey, I haven't met another macro mama through blogosphere yet! So great! Macrobiotics is my essential tool to balance.

  14. p.s, ume plums, kuzu and bancha tea are my heroes!

  15. There a loads of great ideas people are offering here!

    For myself, I never have trouble creating - it's like breathing, I can't not create and do so compulsively even. BUT, my issue is that I never feel that what I create is worthy, or good enough. So every poor creation of mine has to endure this harsh spotlight of...ignominy. Lol. I just let that happen a bit and try to embrace what I do make as best I can. So many of us are wounded creatively.

    Whatever we create doesn't have to be amazing to have the right to exist. The right to be made. It's just really important that it is. It's soulful work.

  16. Nettles...oh yeah, that old "it is not good enough" thing!!! I know the one.

    I have really got a lot of great comments with this post and I am really feeling like it is the journey rather than the outcome that I need to focus on....I want to thank you all for sharing your wisdoms with me once again :)