I hate to say it, but you’re really no big deal.
Sure, you’re the one who PHYSICALLY writes, paints or creates the art.
But it’s not all you.
ARTISTS MUST RECOGNIZE: creativity is the product of a million unseen helping hands.
Call it The Muse. Call it God. Call it Intuition.
But whatever these Powers are, they’re stronger and smarter than you.
So you must respect them. Because they can make or break you.
And you must align yourself with them. Because you are at their service.
As creativity guru Mihlay Csikszentmihlay says, “The Muse communicates through a glass darkly. She has your number, but your don’t have hers.”
Therefore, your role as an artist is partly about being a receptor.
A facilitator. A carrier. A lens.
Someone who listens, takes dictation, attends to the stream of mental experiences…
And creates what wants to be created.
In The War of Art (best book of all time), Steven Pressfield explains, “The professional is acutely aware of all the intangibles that go into inspiration, and out of respect for them, he lets them work.”
SO, THAT’S THE CHALLENGE: How do you surrender creative control?
In my experience as an artist, I’ve discovered several tools for letting the Powers do their thing:
1. Gratitude. Start by grounding yourself artistic humility. Every time you write something – good or bad – give thanks. For the idea AND for the process.
Expressing gratitude to the intangibles will help you get over yourself. NOTE: Avoid the temptation to be like those blocked artists who do nothing by complain about their lack of inspiration. Less complaining, more thanking.
WRITE THIS DOWN: when you become grateful, you become FULL … of great ideas.
2. Morning Pages. First thing in the morning, start a blank document. Spew out every single thought and/or idea that’s running through your mind. Keep writing until you’ve filled up three pages.
Then, save it in a folder called “Morning Pages.” This exercise will help you to listen to what The Muse is trying to tell you. Which will “dump the junk.” Which will get your creative shanks out. Which will enable your best work to surface. (Read more on Morning Pages here.)
WRITE THIS DOWN: creating art is about LISTENING.
3. Daily appointments with yourself. This is the perfect way to create daily alignments with your Powers. Every day after your Morning Pages, isolate yourself. Take 15-30 minutes to lay a positive mental foundation for the rest of the day.
Use music, candles, journals, goal sheets, personal mission statements, positive reading material, headphones, pens, coffee and anything else you need to make this appointment the most comfortable. (Read more on Daily Apps here.)
WRITE THIS DOWN: the most important appointment every day is the one with yourself.
If you can practice these three principles every single day, three things will happen.
1. You’ll accept the fact that it’s not YOU creating the art.
2. You’ll humble yourself to the Powers that be.
3. You’ll create (er, dictate) higher quality and higher quantity art that ever before.
Surrender creative control.
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Share your best surrender secrets here!
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That Guy with the Nametag
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