A Sense of Connection

With chapter seven, we pass the halfway point on The Artist’s Way journey. I should say the halfway point of the book, because the journey will continue long after we have completed the reading, tasks, and exercises. Morning Pages, for many, become a lifetime practice.

So we come to Recovering a Sense of Connection. Connection to what? The creative energies that live all around and within us. By learning to listen, we find that art is more a matter of getting something down than thinking something up.

Artists are the conduits of creative ideas

Artists are the conduits of creative ideas

 

In other words, “we are more the conduit than the creator of what we express.” (p.118) A conduit can take many shapes and forms, even colors, just as artists are able to receive an idea and shape it by their own personality, adding the color of their own voice.

Make listening a part of your artistic practice. Meditate, go for a walk, or turn off the television as you go about your daily chores. Give those creative ideas a chance to find their way through all the noise.

I think my favorite topic of this chapter, and perhaps the whole book, is that of perfectionism. I have often heard people say with pride, “I am a perfectionist.” But is perfectionism more of a hindrance than a help in the life of an artist? Cameron proposes that, “Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough.” (p. 120)

Don't confuse excellence with perfection

Don’t confuse excellence with perfection

The fear of not doing something perfectly can prevent someone from ever trying in the first place. I used to be so hobbled by this, that I could stare at a blank page for hours, waiting for that perfect first sentence to take shape in my mind. National Novel Writing Month cured me of that for the most part, as it taught me the value of a first draft, though I still struggle at times.

Don’t confuse excellence with perfection. We can always strive for excellence. Perfection belongs to a higher realm.

 

I hope these posts have encouraged and inspired you on your creative path. What are some methods you use to listen for that creative voice? Does perfectionism prevent you form pursuing those ideas?

3 thoughts on “A Sense of Connection

  1. “… is perfectionism more of a hindrance than a help in the life of an artist?”

    “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien,” ie “The best is the enemy of the good.” Voltaire, 1764.

    Nick

  2. Patty, you hit a nerve. Perfection can be a disaster if one cannot control this need. The idea that perfection is a wonderful trait is a misconception and actually impedes progress. Very often it is best and far more expedient to push forward and produce and then correct. Love your stuff—keep it up!!!! We love you.

    • Thanks, Hank. Sometimes it can be torture to let go and call something finished, but that’s the only way to move forward.

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