Are you a painter who doesn’t paint? A writer who doesn’t write? A musician who doesn’t play your instrument often? A photographer whose camera has not seen the light of day for awhile? “What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do?
Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece?” Stephen Pressfield
The-Artist-vs-The-AddictAre you trapped in a shadow career? The artist vs the addict and shares an extensive excerpt from Stephen Pressfield’s book Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work. It is written for the countless numbers of us who have creative projects or artistic passions that seem part of our DNA, purpose and path to fulfillment, yet remain unactivated. What’s holding us back? Self sabbotage? Fear of failure? Allowing ‘busyness’ to distract us? Working so hard to please (or impress) others that we are not nurturing the deepest core of who we are?
Pressfield says the addict is the amateur. The artist is the professional:the person that has broken the cycle of yearning, aspiration and inactivity. But, he says many of us “take the amateur route. Instead of composing our symphony, we create a ‘shadow symphony,’ of which we ourselves are the orchestra, the composer, and the audience. Our life becomes a shadow drama, a shadow start-up company, a shadow philanthropic venture.”
I have a number of friends who are artists-usually masters at more than one craft: musicians, painters, comedians, actresses, singers, writers and photographers. Our conversations centre around the move from the ‘shadow symphony’ to the real thing. Many of us have started to step out of the shadow but still have a way to go before we fully turn aspiration and yearning into a regular practice.
If this at all sounds familiar, do yourself a favour and read the blog that has both haunted me and propelled me into long procrastinated action in photography and writing. May your journey to artist remove any ‘shadow’, counterfeit activities that keep you from expressing your true self and gifts.