I recently came across a fabulous group of women blogger artists who are being organized by Jamie Ridler and are working with the book the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. Each week whoever wants to reads the assigned chapter and then crafts a blog post in response .
I have come kind of late to the party and so I am beginning my participation by writing about Chapter 6 which has to do with the issue of internal saboteurs and the creative process, one of my favorite topics. I'm always amazed at the many forms that those inner troublemakers take and I have spent my adult life ( and career) attempting to identify them and find ways to strip them of their power.
One thing I have learned is the freedom that comes from simply ignoring them. For example, I just finished writing a section, on marketing of all things, for an expressive arts teacher training manual that I am creating.
Right before I took it to the printers, after I had proofread it at least 25 times and was sure that it was as good as done as it was going to be, I heard "The Voice" come in. You know the one I am talking about. That voice of the inner critic that thinks everything I create is shit by virtue of the fact that I have created it.
As I reread that section one last time I heard "the voice" say something along the lines of " You have got to be kidding me! Are you really going to give this to your students? This is total crap. It makes no sense. It's not very well written at all, I can't believe that you spent so much time putting this together, blah, blah, blah."
I cringed a little, but knew better than to take any of this seriously. And of course when my students read what I had written they loved it. And more importantly, when I read it a few days later, I could see that it was pretty gosh darned good. And I marveled once again at how utterly convincing this voice can be right when I am on the verge of bringing one of my creative gifts out into the world . If I really listened to it and acted on it's directives all of my creative efforts would be in the bottom of a moldy drawer somewhere and eventually I would stop creating entirely.
I've begun to realize that it comes up at those moments for precisely that reason. It WANTS me to keep all my creative work hidden away. I know, I know.....on some level it is trying to protect me. From criticism and from another issue that apparently plagues a lot of women which is the fear of having too much. It's trying to save me from having to deal with more goodness or abundance or success than it thinks I can handle.
But I think I am at the point where I am ready to take my chances. If making my creative work more visible brings a firestorm of nasty reactions down on my head, so be it. It hasn't happened yet, and I kind of doubt that it will, but if it does, I've got lots of loyal friends who I can count on to help me out if I need protection or a pep talk and a shoulder to cry on.
And if my creative work brings me more fame, money or just adoring fan mail? Or even better yet, more self respect and self love? I think I just MIGHT be ready to try that one on for size!