Created for Best of Artist’s and Artisans website
By Bridgette Mongeon © 2007
The Houston Public Television Station created an artist documentary on my work that began, “Making a living, while living a dream, a hard combination, many hope for but few achieve.” Why is this difficult for some artists to achieve? There are many reasons. Some want to create and don’t want to bring the element of sales or business into their sacred place of creating. Others may not have the business resources. Still others have psychological barriers that keep them from succeeding and reaching their dreams. Through my marketing in the arts workshops I have helped many different individuals overcome those obstacles that stood in their way of achieving. I hope to help some of you do the same. But be forewarned, sometimes the biggest obstacle can be yourself!
In my lecture on creativity I often state, “Watch out, the moment you want to be creative; the moment you sit down to begin the process of writing or painting or drawing or composing, your mind will suddenly feel a different urge. Suddenly you will feel that cleaning the grease off the back of the kitchen stove will be more important than creating.”
It is the voices we hear in our heads that keep us from doing the very thing that our heart wants to do. We distract ourselves with other things. Yesterday I sat down to write a chapter of my marketing book and felt compelled to check my e-mail, look up random topics on search engines, and then clean off my desk. The same thing happens when I begin to sculpt. “Don’t forget when you get back into the office you should…,” my mind bellows. Last week I was working on a sculpture and jumped up so many times I thought there must be something wrong with me. Now I make it a point to keep a pad and pencil by my sculpture and jot down intruding thoughts.
A friend called with the deepest yearning in her heart, “I want to be a writer,” she stated. My answer was matter of fact, “Then write. Don’t just read about writing; don’t take classes on writing, WRITE!” We keep ourselves busy without actually doing the thing we want to do. Another friend called and said she wanted to be a mosaic artist. “I think I’ll get a part time job so I can afford more art materials, then I’ll go and buy some really nice concrete birdbaths and more art supplies, and then I’ll create the most beautiful pieces.” I told her to break some old plates and create. Why do we make things more difficult than we have to?
If you really want an eye opener, purchase Steve Pressfield’s book, The War of Art.
Pressfield calls it resistance. My husband, also an artist and writer, said this is one of the best books he has read. “It doesn’t leave you any places to hide,” he told me. The book is a quick read but one you will want to keep around. It will; however, make you take a hard look at yourself. Scrawled on my husband’s marks-a-lot board in his office is, “RESIST RESISTANCE—EXCUSES”.
Pressfield put a name to the voice—resistance. I have approached it a different way, telling attendees of my workshops that the left hemisphere is the more dominant. My queue cards for the left brain (the left side of the audience) reads, “You can’t draw, you can’t write, you can’t act, NO WAY, NO WAY, NO WAY!” The audience is rather timid when saying it, but I convince them to say it in the voice they hear in their head. The retort is a scream that comes from the gut. It is their voices that keep them from their dream. The queue card for the right side of my audience (the right creative hemisphere) is often said in a whisper, “Yes you can, yes you can, just try.”
In the words of Pressfield;
“Resistance is fueled by fear: Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.”