ONE THING that drives all creatives CRAZY

scary teletubbies

scary teletubbiesEverytime I meet a creative person for the first time, when we start talking about the challenges we meet, this ONE THING always comes up.

At first, I didn’t really pay much attention to it, thinking that I was weird, and so are most of my friends, to be fair. But this ONE THING kept showing up, driving us crazy, and people I didn’t know, and every client I work with. I had to find an answer.

We all have many challenges as professional creatives, for instance: finding focus (“Here, kitty, kitty, kitty”), how to collaborate, price/fee determination, marketing issues, etc.

But this ONE THING in all its variations keep coming up:
“How can I make all the negative self-talk pipe down and let me get on with my work?”

For some reason, when we are working/creating on a project or piece, we are hounded by voices/ideas that steal our joy by bullying us with their negativity for days on end. Like being sucker punched every time your guard is down.

Have you ever started a project and ended up spending hours (like when you should be sleeping) just worrying about the outcome, before you are even NEAR the outcome? The whining. The warnings. The whispers.

I, too, have listend to these nasty harbingers of doom way, way too many times. What is really horrible is that if a project is successfully completed, you’re so worn out by the anxiety you can’t even be proud of a job well done.

In the past couple of years, with practice, I have found the following, simple exercise very helpful in putting a muzzle on these hounds of hell.

Every time fear rears its ugly head with an announcement you’re on a one-way road to an artistic apocalypse, you do this:
Acknowledge the thought with a ‘How do you do?’
Or: “Back again, are we?”
Or roll your inner eyes at them and reply with a sarcastic “Oh, reeeeaaallllly?”

Just a simple sideways look, a quick thank-you for their time ( kill them with kindness, I say), and respond with a :”Uh, yeah, thanks for the input, I realize how important I think this by your comments but now I have to get back to what I was doing.’

I have a hallway in my brain and when the joy killers rush in from the left brandishing their torches and pitchforks, I let them have their say in the hallway. Then I give them a slight nod and show them the door to the right that happens to open up into outer space where they fall into oblivion.

Those voices just let us know we really care about what we are doing. And usually that manifests itself in negative, reactionary self-talk. Let them have their say , then show them the door.

It’s often called emotional acceptance or acknowledging your feelings – you can look that up.
Then go back to what you were doing before you were so rudely interrupted, because that’s where the goodness, the love, and the flow of creativity awaits you.
Just turn off the hall light on your way out.