Know thy Enemy

This is the second week of the series Art & Soul Reloaded-A-Long. For the introduction of this series, see here.

It’s time for the second week of the Art & Soul Reloaded-A-Long. How did you do during the first week? Hopefully, you tracked your time-wasting activities and were able to cut them by at least half.

I’d also love to know what creative endeavors you undertook. Pam Grout provides examples in her book, Art & Soul Reloaded, but the point is to stretch your creative muscles each week. My activities included knitting a new hat (without a pattern; I winged it), and taking a wire-wrapping class at the local craft store. And of course, more writing.

This week, we are going to look our enemies in the eye and face them head-on. Enemies that stifle our creative spirit, that compel us to do anything else other than make and create.

We know we want to create. We’re aware we need to write or speak or sing something the world needs to hear. We realize we need to paint or draw something that someone, somewhere needs to see. So what’s holding us back?

Photo by Joe Beck on Unsplash

The enemies.

Pam Grout looks at three of those enemies in her book. The first one is Procrastination. As a recovering procrastinator, I completely get this one. We put it off, and keep putting it off and find anything else to do other than foster our creativity. It gets to the point where we’d rather go to the dentist’s office for a root canal than sit down and write or draw.

The second enemy is Resistance. Staying in a rut is comfortable. We know it and provides a type of solace. Change is uncomfortable. And change is what we are generating when we express an act of creativity. We are adding something new to the world, something that didn’t exist previously. And that can be scary.

Finally, the third enemy Self-Doubt. Even the greatest of creators, musicians, writers, and artists experience self-doubt. We worry that we’re not good enough, that no-one will want to see or hear our creations, or worse, that we’ll be ridiculed, criticized or laughed at.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I think all three of these creativity enemies can be categorized under one: Fear. Fear is the principal reason we put off our creativity. We’re afraid we’re not up to snuff, that it’s all been done or said before, that people will hate our creations, and by extension, us.

So let’s lose the fear. One way to do this is this week’s activity.

This week’s activity is called Writing an Invocation to the Muses. When we call on God, or other Higher Power to assist us in our creative endeavors, the ideas flow. It allows us to be open to receive inspiration and then pass on our unique gifts to others.

Paul tells Timothy in the bible:

Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. -1 Timothy 4:14–15

We are called to share our creative gifts with others.

Pam Grout shares her invocation in Art & Soul Reloaded, and in the spirit of defeating Fear, I humbly share mine:

God, the Greatest of all Creators, allow me to be open to your guidance and instruction. Allow me to accept your creative will for me, and help me to defeat my fear of sharing my creativity with the world. Please help me to open my mind to all possibilities. I thank you for the opportunity to pass on your wisdom and gifts to others.

Whether you pray to God, the Muses, the Universe, or other Higher Power, allow yourself to be guided in your creativity and write it down your invocation this week. Please share it if you’re so inclined.

In addition to this exercise, flex your creative muscles with a couple of other small activities. Pam suggests inventing a new soup or naming a rock band.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. -Maya Angelou

Whatever you do, keep up the momentum of creating. As we move along further each week, our creative muscles become stronger.

Please share your creative journey in the comments! What have you done this week? Are you willing to share your invocation to the Muses?

Resolute over-thinker, introvert, eternal optimist, recovering procrastinator, unashamed nerd and potato chip addict.
Resolute over-thinker, introvert, eternal optimist, recovering procrastinator, unashamed nerd and potato chip addict.

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