Getting Out Of Your Own Way

Despite their differences, every creative field has similar challenges. You have to have a vision to make it work, and often that vision has to be something really important to you. If you lack the sufficient will and determination, you’ll generally not get very far in whatever you’re trying to create. Whether it be a painting, composition, or a novel – you have to go in being a little bit single-minded. Distractions are easy, after all, and there may be people who want you to do something else entirely. There may even be parts of yourself, or outside voices, which tell you that you’re not good enough. As a result, finishing requires being able to tune all of that out and push forward despite almost everything.

This, despite how neurotic creative types may be, actually requires a great deal of pride, even ego. It’s not something we have all the time, but when it comes to our personal work we can be incredibly stubborn. In fact, quite a few of us have to train a sense of self-righteousness. It often becomes something of a monster – an inner asshole. We hone a bit of our personal ego and our passion for the project to craft this alter-ego which shuts out certain opinions and doesn’t care what others think.

Everyone actually has a version of this inner asshole, just expressed in different ways and to different degrees. We don’t like this side, but it still exists – giving us the ability to be egotistical enough to not be swayed from our goals.  The stronger it is, the easier time we have doing things that would otherwise scare us. Some would say that requires some sort of an emotional callous, but callouses are numb and this other facet of our personality is still pretty damn passionate. The greats are generally people who can turn this on and off at will, able to achieve a degree of tunnel vision when necessary but then shut it off when it’s no longer helpful. They keep this personality in check for as long as possible, unleashing it only when needed.


Unfortunately, this is a double edged sword. A lot of you already know how hard it can be to take criticism well, but there are other times in the middle of the project that we often overlook. For every determined artist there’s a moment where they’ll find their project in a place other than where they intended it to be. Maybe you’ve gotten half way through the painting and realized that it isn’t matching the image in your head. Maybe the natural flow of events in your story has come to a different place. Maybe the thing you were so attached to turns out to not work very well at all. At this point, those people who once had so much determination are now facing a brand new kind of problem.

You have to defeat the monster you created… Continue reading Getting Out Of Your Own Way