Fr Iff Institution in France
Remember, your artist is a child. Find and protect that child. Learning to let yourself create is like learning to walk. The artist child must begin by crawling. Baby steps will follow and there will be falls-yecchy first paintings, beginning films that look like unedited home movies, first poems that would shame a greeting card. Typically, the recovering shadow artist will use these early efforts to discourage continued exploration. Judging your early artistic efforts is artist abuse. This happens in any number of ways: beginning work is measured against the masterworks of other artists; beginning work is exposed to premature criticism, shown to overly critical friends. In short, the fledgling artist behaves with well-practiced masochism. Masochism is an art form long ago mastered, perfected during the years of self-reproach; this habit is the self-hating bludgeon with which a shadow artist can beat himself right back into the shadows.
In recovering from our creative blocks, it is necessary to go gently and slowly. What we are after here is the healing of old wounds-not the creation of new ones. No high jumping, please! Mistakes are necessary! Stumbles are normal. These are baby steps. Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.
Too far, too fast, and we can undo ourselves. Creative recovery is like marathon training. We want to log ten slow miles for everyone fast mile. This can go against the ego’s grain. We want to be great-immediately great-but that is not how recovery works. It is an awkward, tentative, even embarrassing process. There will be many times when we won’t look good-to ourselves or anyone else. We need to stop demanding that we do. It is impossible to get better and look good at the same time.