I got thinking about: being creatively ‘stuck’, and not taking the leap into creating your own work, which led me to think of what Julia Cameron said about ‘Shadow Artists‘ in her book ‘The Artist’s Way‘.
I can definitely relate to this. It’s also why the self-help industry is huge. We want to keep reading variations on the same wisdom in the hopes of filling in gaps we missed – or getting that final combination of ‘secrets’ that will finally give us the confidence we need.
The Shadow Artist
I first became aware of it when reading Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s way‘. The author introduced me to the idea of the ‘Shadow Artist‘. I suddenly realised that I was one! Instead of actually making my own art, I was voraciously reading books about art & artists – and painting technique. I was almost an art historian, but producing nothing. I read biographies and diaries of artists – hoping it’d inspire me, or rub-off. But I think really, it was an easy substitute for doing the work – taking a risk. It was procrastination.
People also like to talk about their great novel – which they haven’t written yet.
Taking Action: Art Classes
When my wife finally pushed me to do art classes, I started reading a lot less about Art – and watching less art documentaries – because I was more interested in doing my own art. I was no longer a ‘Shadow Artist’. What I did read, and look at, had real purpose. In-between painting, I was studying the work of people like Lucien Freud and Velasquez, and trying to apply it to my own work. Continue reading
I logged out of all of my social media accounts yesterday – except for LinkedIn. I switched-off and uninstalled Apps for (the obligatory) Facebook & Twitter, and also Instagram and Tumblr. And guess what? My world didn’t end. In fact, I feel wonderfully light and more aware of the world and the people around me.
And I’ve also rediscovered how interesting the internet actually is!
Rediscovering the Web
There’s so much great content to read and view. That is, when one has the time – and when one actually searches for it, rather than getting it filtered through news feeds. Yes, filtered by someone – or something else.
Admittedly, most of my reading yesterday and this morning was found via search-terms like:
- “Things to do online instead of social media”
- “Social Media is a waste of f**king time” (for fun)
- “Social Media is Pointless”
The last one was interesting as it brought up some more business-related articles which heretically question the real value of social media to one’s bottom-line. Sure, it gets you ‘Likes’, ‘Followers’ and ‘Shares’ and ‘Retweets’ – but how many of those convert into actual sales, business or even traffic to your website? “Well, our sales, profits and share price have dropped – but our Facebook followers are at a new high!”