An artist friend who is about to give birth to a huge one woman art exhibit emailed me with the following:
I am having a freaky couple of days. I am working on my large piece for the exhibition. Although it is going pretty well, I am having a stream of mini panic attacks, anxious moments and a strange restlessness. My confidence is seesawing beyond belief…is this what ‘suffering’ for your art means!!!! I am completely out of my comfort zone with it and it is driving me bonkers. I am totally aware of the causes, but cannot stop the effects!!! Hear a large scream.
Here is what I wrote back to her:
OK, all artists/authors experience this from time to time. Here’s my prescription for what you are going through.
Everything has its opposite. For day there is night, for black there is white. Did you know that insecurity is the opposite of creativity? Ah, no wonder you are flipping from one to the other. Here’s what to do: Stop trying to create for the moment. Sit down with a pen and paper and at the top of the page write the following words: Who, What, How, When, Where. Now under the word ‘How’, write how you feel. Next, go through all five of these words. List under the word ‘What’…what would happen if you failed, succeeded, etc. Under ‘Who’, write down who is involved in your project (you may be amazed at who might be in the fringes you are afraid of letting down) and so on with each word.
When you are finished, let it sit. Have a cup of tea and go for a walk. Come back and on another piece of paper find the opposite of any negative you wrote on the other paper. Then form a positive affirmation (as though it has already happened) and start chanting the affirmation in your mind every time you start to feel insecure.
This works. I have used this method for years.