(This is the third of a series of posts following Tyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit. All the previous posts are collected in the Summer Blog Project category.)
#3 Face Your Fears. She lists hers in the book and goes on to debunk each one in turn.
I will list mine, but I am not as confident about the debunking part as Ms. Tharp. After all, I am no Tyla Tharp, internationally known choreographer. I am a little known local artist.
Here are my fears:
1. That I have no talent and I have no business calling myself an artist. Even I know that this is ridiculous. I may not be a world busting talent, but I am good and professional. I have just as much of a right to be an artist as anybody else, and more than some.
2. That I will not be able to communicate what I am trying to express through my work, that I will fail to connect. I will be the only person who knows it then, and I can always take another stab at it.
3. That what I make will be a failure, despite my best effort. So? It is no reason not to go ahead and do it anyway. Nothing is perfect and the most interesting things often come about by accident.
4. That no one will care. Well, that’s actually true. No one but me will care if I do this or not. And since I care, I may as well do it.
5. That no one will like my work. A whole bunch of people won’t like it, but some will. It is worth doing it for them. If I was only doing this to please myself, I would not feel the need to get it out there. I feel the need to share my work with others, because it is my deepest, truest, best self. So I keep putting it out there regardless of rejection.
6. Fear of talking to strangers. A silly fear, with nothing to do with creativity, but it remains my biggest handicap.I am not a very verbal person, and I am shy. I am always afraid to talk to people I don’t know well. I doubt I will ever get over this, and it doesn’t get easier with practice.
#4 Give Me One Week Without.
This has to do with dealing with distractions, like the phone, clocks or the internet. She makes a list of things she will ignore for a week in order to sharpen her focus on creativity.
I am starting an internet surfing hiatus. I can’t go randomly looking at things , which is the biggest time waster ever invented as far as I am concerned. I love to type in any random thing that comes to mind and follow where it leads me. I will keep up with my own blog for the purpose of this project, but I will not go off reading any of my favorite blogs. And no internet forums either.
She suggests avoiding Numbers, on clocks, scales, bills, dials, meters. Any form of counting to give the left side of your brain which is the counting side a rest, which will let the right side, the more intuitive side, come to fore. I think I will be good at this one. I am kind of like that anyway.
Another suggestion is avoiding background music. I don’t like background music when I am working. I listen to music, and often stop what I am doing while it is on. I can’t work with music because it grabs my focus. Music is based on repeating patterns and is full of colors. I can only listen to music when I am doing something fairly mindless that I don’t need to pay close attention to.
What I do instead is listen to NPR. I can ignore speaking in a way that I can never ignore music. I turn on NPR and let it drone on in the background while I work. Sometimes, things catch my attention, but mostly I use it to make a kind of white noise.
So I will give up NPR for a week as well.
Books. I love to read. Although it gives me many ideas, it is also my biggest distraction. No books, other than this one I am following, for a whole week. This will be the absolute hardest thing for me. I may die.
Tharp compares this pact with yourself to abstain from your distractions a ritual sacrifice to the gods. Instead of goats or sheep, the sacrifice is distractions.