It can be hard to be a Growing Person in this world.
We think of people in terms of what they present; in terms of their products and actions in snapshots of time. We look at a piece of art and think, “This is what the artist makes.” We read a type of writing and think, “This is what the writer writes.”
These are but minute pieces of an ever-growing, ever-changing puzzle.
It becomes overwhelming sometimes: “I must find my style, my voice – and stick to it!”
I’m trying to remind myself that I don’t need to stick to anything. I need to create.
This is why I bother, isn’t it? To explore expression, to explore my mind, to wonder and experiment.
Yet, this pressure appears, and I don’t know where it comes from. Pretend timelines, a race against myself: complete this manuscript by March, or you’ll never be published! If you don’t get it submitted in TWO WEEKS, you can kiss a career as an author-illustrator goodbye. Meanwhile, I know the work isn’t ready, and I never make the deadline because it was based on nothing but a whim; it was based on a panicked part of my brain that had a nasty little gremlin whispering to it.
Oh, those gremlins are the worst. This is okay … but have you seen THAT writers work? You think this is decent? Come on, don’t be ridiculous. You suck. You are the worst. No one ever says anything because they don’t want to make you sad, but me? I don’t care! You. Suck. Stop making art! Stop writing! The world doesn’t need your ideas.
But as a Growing Person, I’ve dedicated my life to pursuing my passions. I’ve committed to making things, for no bigger purpose than creation itself. Do I want a career in it? Absolutely! But, as a Growing Person, I know that growth takes time, effort and practice. I know that I need to keep working.
For me, staying in the art works. This means that I am actively making stuff (up) on an almost daily basis. When I turn that tap on, and the work begins flowing more quickly over time, it becomes easier to say to my gremlins: “Shut the heck up and leave me alone – I’m MAKING stuff over here! Some of it sucks and some of it doesn’t, so go bug someone else!” Of course, they are MY gremlins and they live in my brain with Fear. Don’t get me started on that fickle monster.
When I stay in the art, I am okay. I can approach my work from a Growing Artist/Writer perspective. I can say, “Hey, this isn’t the best, but this part is good and I could adjust that part by doing this.” When I’m out of the art? “This blows.”
I try to stay in the art by writing, sketching, and reflecting DAILY. I’ve recently started getting up earlier than everyone else in the house in order to give myself a dedicated 30-60 minutes of time to make. The stakes are low – this time is for me. I don’t have a deadline, I don’t have to tell anyone what I made, and I don’t have to do anything but show up and work.
This seems to keep the Gremlins, and Fear, a little bit quieter. It makes it easier to be a Growing Person who lives in a world of products, when I know that the most important part of the Art is the process.
(Note: I talked about staying In The Art in my November Newsletter. Didn’t get your copy? You can subscribe to my newsletter by visiting my website: www.patrickg.ca)
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