I’m on holiday (=recharging) …; using An Absorbing Errand by Janna Malamud Smith as a guide back into the world of creativity.
True happiness, we are told, consists in getting out of one’s self; but the Point is not only to get out — you must stay out; and to stay out you must have some absorbing errand.
from the novel Roderick Hudson
In An Absorbing Errand the writer and psychotherapist Malamud Smith examines the psychological obstacles that prevent people from staying with, and relishing, the process of art-making.
Each chapter of the book is devoted to a problem intrinsic to the creative process. Chapter 2 is simply called FEARS. Malamud Smith writes:
Every strong desire breads the fear that it may fail of accomplishment. Inhibiting fears often appear in guises; they mask themselves, and so you don’t think: I’M TERRIFIED OF FAILURE, you think:
– I’d rather go for a walk
– I don’t know what made me think I wanted to do this. How silly!
– I doubt I can do it …
The solution is not to push the fears away – pushing worries and fears takes a lot of energy; exactly THE energy you need to create. But when we let ourselves know and name our real apprehensions, their power tends to diminish: and we can focus more on our work.
Anxiety in a creative task might also be a sign that will and control are giving way to something fresh & original.
Malamud Smith calls it: THE FREIGHT OF WORRY, EVEN DESPAIRE, THAT ANY DIFFICULT WORK CARRIES WITH IT.