How do you fail to utilize your gift and talents? How do you feel at those moments? Are you unwilling to act? Is it that you are afraid? What is really going on? How can a few simple steps change you? What do you need for that happen?
My "illustration" for this week's topic is an empty chair-- the chair at my clay table, which many times stands empty when it ought to be filled.
(It should really look a bit more forlorn, but flash lighting and the aqua paint don't help when one tries to create an atmosphere of dejection. (g))
I have a bad habit of procrastinating-- one that I feel ties in well with this topic. There are so many times and areas of my life in which I tend to put things off. It's usually because I'm afraid of doing them wrong-- or at least not as well as I feel I could do them, were I properly prepared.
I have ideas I put off and put off. I have plans that I never put into action. I have products that remain unused because... I guess I'm waiting for the "perfect time" to use them to present itself.
I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to do things well and sometimes saving something special until you're better able to use it. (If you're learning to sew, you probably want to practice on cheap cotton before cutting into your best piece of silk, for instance.) The problem comes when we-- when I-- put off so many things for so long that I'm essentially paralysed by fear of taking a wrong step.
The planets don't have to be perfectly aligned. I don't need a Sign to tell me that I'm finally "ready". I just need to accept the fact that I will make mistakes-- and so what? The fate of the world doesn't hinge on my success. (Thank goodness!) Sometimes there is no perfect time. You just have to do the best you can at the moment. There's always next time to do it a bit better. Seize the day, and all that sort of thing. ;o)
This applies to many aspects of my life, including my creative pursuits. Of course, like most good advice, it's easier to give than to implement!
As for changing... (apart from just trying to tell myself regularly that I should worry less and create more)... I've heard people suggest that you touch the clay at least once a day. Just the act of kneading it can be enough to get you past your "artist's block" or whatever else is plaguing you. Like most things, just taking that first step is more than half the battle won. (Also, once you've gotten your hands "dirty"-- or sticky, at least-- you might as well make something. Why have sticky hands for nothing? (g)) I'm not sure how likely I am to touch the clay every single day. Sometimes you need a break. But I do usually at least look over my clay table once a day-- see what I've done, what's in process, and all the little colorful scraps of clay sitting on the tiles. Looking over things and planning new projects is also an important part of the creative process.
Writing this blog and working on my shop at Etsy both help keep me active with the clay, too, I find. I don't list something new every single day, as many recommend, but I do try to list at least every two or three days. Going through the listing process-- and writing here every few days-- keeps the subject in my mind.
That said, I have work to do! Off to the clay table to see if my scented cupcakes (a new product for me) still have their scent after curing...