More Work – Less Think
I’ve got to laugh at myself whenever I get into one of my mental tail chases.
I need to develop and enlarge my online presence. I need to post to my blog at least once a week. I need to read up on promotion and marketing for my art. I need to develop a reputation and earn the respect of friends, colleagues, and clientele. But to do all of that, I’ve got to get to work making my art.
I don’t know exactly how it happens. When I find myself stuck in the ditch I’m almost always surprised at how I got there. I don’t remember avoiding a “deer” standing in my way. I don’t remember any on-coming “traffic”. Then it hits me, I fell asleep at the wheel. I was “day-dreaming” about what it is I must get done to get my work out there to show & sell.
I was thinking too much. My left-brain completely took over. My right-brain was being ignored, and I stopped making. I was hyper-planning, guessing at what I ought in response to what might happen. Blinded by visions of maybe’s, I lost focus and drove off the road and into the ditch. It’s a balance thing with me, and is possibly the biggest skill God has me working on this year; mental balance.
When I come to, I hear the Lord’s Spirit saying, “More work. Less think.”
It’s something I was mis-taught in school, the kind of thinking Seth Godin talks about in his book Brainwashed: Seven Ways to Reinvent Yourself. I was taught that my creative right-brain didn’t matter. All that mattered was memorizing the Three-R’s – Reading, wRriting, and aRithmetic. What America needed in the 1960’s were left-brained scientists, inventors, and teachers of the same.
According to Betty Edwards (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain) not only am I right-brained, but I’m a bi-lateral. It’s a sort of mental ambidexterity, but to the point; I’ve been in a wretched conflict for a very long time (decades) and to this day I still have to work at getting these two mental forces in balance. It’s a matter of creating new habits and neglecting old ones so they die off like weeds.
There’s a need and a time for both left and right brain work, or we humans wouldn’t have been designed this way. I need my left-brain thinking for brief periods of planning, marketing, and such. And I need to learn to give spacious, voluptuous periods of free-flight creativity to my right-brain. The right-brain’s just got to learn to lead, and that’s the lesson for me. I’m an artist and need to give my right-brain permission to blossom uninhibited and unjudged.. My left-brain can just go sulk in the corner if it’s going to be a judgmental curmudgeon.
If I’d just get into the studio and “make a mess” I’d have the body of work I’m so concerned about learning how to market. Self criticism is futile.
Art-making is an act of non-judgmental faith whenever we Creatives get into our workspace and without knowing whether what we’re doing is going to work / be any good / make any sense / we simply begin. Once we’ve begun, we keep on, ignoring fears, concerns, doubts, and anxieties about the work itself.
Gotta laugh. Gotta make. Gotta think less, and make much more.