A while ago my son, Josh, recommended a book to me that I read and took to heart. At least I thought I did. The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, taught me about the many ways I have sabotaged my own creativity. Much of the book is about overcoming the thing that keeps any of us from doing what we are passionate about as fully as we could. That thing is, quite simply, our self talk. I don't want to over simplify the book, and I believe it is truly worth reading for anyone who feels they have not lived up their potential. We may think of creativity as applying only to the arts, but as problem solving is creativity at its best, it actually applies to all of life.
I learned a lot about myself from the book and for a while I worked really hard at being scrupulously honest about my motivations, my efforts, and my ultimate responsibility for my creative output. I had little litmus tests in place to see if I was acquiescing to the negative messages that manifest themselves in the life of every person. Then, I must have gotten tired.
There is song written by Cat Stevens; The First Cut is the Deepest. I only know the Sheryl Crow rendition. At any rate, I totally agree with the concept that the habits of self talk we establish early in our lives, "I'm no good at math", "I can't dance" etc, are so deeply engrained in our psyche that we have to work hard to bounce the needle out of that groove and make a different recording. BUT the good news is that we can break old habits. Including how we see ourselves and our contribution to this life.
I am writing about this because I have let myself fall back into patterns that keep me from breaking free as a writer. I have so many reasons lined up that no one will want to read/buy whatever it is I'm working on. If this ever happens to you, I say let's go to war.
If the war on my art is the creative hamstringing caused by self doubt, then I am ready to make war on that war. My weapons will be courage, diligence, humility, and hope. What have I got to lose but old grooves that don't serve me well anyway?