Elizabeth Gilbert, in this TED talk and in her book ‘Big Magic’ explores the theme of fear in the creative process. Trying to surprise fear, usually about how the outcomes of creativity might be received by an imaginary audience, can surprise creativity itself.
She works on creating a little distance from the fear by giving it a persona and inviting it on the journey or ‘road trip’. Both creativity and fear are allowed in the car but fear is not allowed to drive, navigate or even ‘touch the radio’!
Anxiety can be a driving force for creativity but it can produce mental blocks. I tend not to suffer from this as I don’t appear to mind how other people perceive my work. I’m not sure why, maybe because I don’t depend on it to make money. I also teach in a school where Carol Dwek’s ‘growth mindset’ is prevalent and we model making mistakes all the time, to encourage our students to take risks in their learning.
In ‘Your elusive creative genius’, Gilbert develops the theme of fear obstructing creativity to exploring another way of distancing the creative ‘force’ itself. The Greeks used the idea of ‘Daemons’, other worldly sources of creativity and the Roman’s magical divine entities were called ‘Geniuses’. These beings were thought to live in the walls and influence the human creating the work. Whatever you want to call them the idea is that they are a psychological construct or higher power (the universe if you like’ that influences your work. Gilbert says it is her job to ‘turn up and do the work’, if the creativity doesn’t necessarily follow its partly down to the higher being.
I have come to this path via a different route and my paintings using wire are hugely influenced by my HP source (:-)). I choose the pallet and the tool (wire), the act of painting though is without thought as I channel the source. If I find myself forcing the movement, I stop. I don’t know why I have this method, I just do. Love the idea of daemons and geniuses from the universe flowing through my work though.