Thursday, December 8, 2011

Getting Creative - Week 32

I've done it again. I could have sworn that yesterday was Tuesday. It think it might be a side effect of my migraines. I seem to lose a day or so with each one. It's really weird because I can look directly at a calendar and not register the proper day. I will look at it and see what I think I should see. ::shrug::


I've always had a lot of voices in my head. You might even say I spend way too much time in my head listening to the stories those voices have to tell. My problem is that the voices do not wait their turn. There are always multiple stories competing for attention. I will get so far with one story and then I have to start a new one because I've got a new voice. I can't put them off. If I don't get things down right away I'll lose them. I wish there was some way to organize them. Maybe I could post times in my brain: new stories Mondays from 6pm to 8pm; new chapters Tuesdays from 4pm to 6pm; extraneous background information Wednesdays from 2pm to 4pm; etc.

That would be lovely.

This week's card: 
When facing the blank canvas, the blank screen, or the shapeless lump of clay, there are endless, potentially debilitating ways to convince yourself that it makes more sense to get up and wash the dishes instead. There's that old standby, Fear of Failure: “What if I don't get on Oprah/get a gallery/get a life?” and its paradoxical cousin, Fear of Success: “What if I do get on Oprah and I'm still not rich/thin/happy?” There's the need to surpass, or bypass, your parents' expectations: the desire to do better than that successful younger brother, just this once. Exorcising one's demons is a lifelong process that begins with one simple step: identify them. Then you can face them down as you go.

I think my biggest demon is Fear of Success. I've always thought that “potential” was the scariest word in the English language. I've always been told that I had great potential. I've been told by many writing teachers, including a best selling author, that I'm a great writer. This has been immediately followed by a long period of me being incapable of writing anything at all.

Many years ago I wrote a feature length script. I let a screenwriter read it. He said it was great. He even sent it to his agent to read. The agent had a few minor suggestions that would have been easy to incorporate into the script. He even suggested a film company he thought might buy the script. I never sent the script to anyone else. I never re-wrote it. It sits in my files exactly the same as it was the day I finished it. I can't even look at it any more. It's a useless waste of paper.

Fear of Success? Check.

Creativity Resources

Are These 2 Creativity Myths Holding You Back? Meet the “Creative Genius” and the “Tortured Artist.”

Mental Illness and the Creative Process – Reviews of two books that look at mental illness and creativity.

The Inner Demon That Trumps Them All – Perfectionism is the worst of all demons.

About the image: Lorne was a singing demon from the television show Angel. If all my demons were like him I'd be having a lot more fun.

Getting Creative is a 52 week project where I will try to work my way through 52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity by Lynn Gordon. You're welcome to come along as I do a card a week for a year.

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