Don’t Let The Creative Myths Hold You Back: Waiting For The Muse

Julius-Romanus "Dance Of The Muses".

Julius-Romanus "Dance Of The Muses".

Are Creativity Myths Holding You Back?
 What do Tinkerbell, Van Gogh, and Mozart have in common? Let’s Think About It.
    When you ask anyone what they think about when they think of becoming an artist …here are some of the “myths” about creative types that come up…and are often repeated as truths…
Myth Number 1…The Genius of the “Naturally Talented” Artist
 This is what the myth of the naturally talented artist and/or Genius is based on – the idea that there are people with Special “Natural” Talents who simply do not have to work at it. The river of original and striking thoughts is always flowing by their door. They spend their lives idly lounging, and once in a while get in the “MOOD” and  offhandedly turn out a finished, polished masterpiece. Any idea becomes brilliant once they pour on some of their Special, Mystical,Natural,Talent into it.
It is all so easy for them…life is full of abandon and carefree creativity.

   Now I will not deny that there are people with remarkable talents, but I’ve been around enough of them to know that the idea that they don’t have to work at it is totally wrong and misguided.. If they are at all serious about making the most of their gifts, they work like crazy at it.{And they continue to study so that their work will get better and better.}

   Let’s use Mozart as an example. The popular stories have it that in brief interludes between being chirpy and mad, he whipped out stacks of exquisite music as easily as breathing. This image does not stand up to much scrutiny. Mozart wrote his 25th symphony (the opening music from the film Amadeus) at age 17;yes he was an unbelievable genius, and was gifted and  remarkably talented, yes, but he was also driven to create beter and even more remarkable works. He was able to sustain a workload that defies comprehension for about 36 years. Sounds like He worked hard at it to me…not just when He was in the “mood”…or had a little extra time to kill..

 Myth Number 2.  The  Tales of the Tortured, Starving Artist.
   He lives in squalor or in creative  chaos, pulling out his hair and rending his clothes searching for the elusive key which will unlock the door, releasing the creative muse. His life is mostly pain, but will all be worth it in the end when his genius is finally revealed – if it is, usually,it is posthumously – after he has died a pauper, never recognized in his lifetime but celebrated down through the ages for his remarkable ability to capture in his artwork, his angst and agony….Think Van Gogh…

The trouble is, like all good myths, these 2 Myths are based, to some extent, on a few facts; there is some truth to them. Not much, but at least a grain. Things do come more easily to some people, and others do struggle and suffer. But, like all good stories, they appeal to us because they  may engage our emotions,or give weight to our dreams of effortless mastery, or stroke an empathy for the waste of unfulfilled possibility,or even make us long for a  desire to feel something passionately enough to sacrifice everything for it.  But….

Are We Making a Mountain Out of a Mythical Molehill?

Do We let these 2 ‘myths” become excuses that keep us from realizing our creative potential…{I am not talented…. I am not smart enough….I just am not willing to sacrifice comfort and/or self gratification for the tortured starving artist role…etc.{This last statement means I am not willing to spend money for art lessons, books, supplies, or workshops, etc. when I can spend it on something that gives me immediate satisfaction… a movie, dinner out,new clothes, etc.]
 but I also have to ask myself sometimes if perhaps we’re not making a bit too much of it, for drama’s sake.

Are we not giving our personal creativity myths to much power over us when we envision them as huge mountains to overcome?  What if we simply ignored them? They would evaporate in the mists….

I’m going to go a bit further. What if it’s really not such a big deal, this talent thing? What if everyone has it – different levels and strengths of it, to be sure, but still – what if it’s not special, and we who seek after it are not unusual or inherently remarkable?

What if this whole mythology of the tortured, starving artist,or the naturally talented genius is really not a “sacrifical” labor, or the “mark” of certified genius, but rather just the natural, normal state of humankind? I think the worst myth is someone who thinks they do not have any special gifts or talents. [I have yet to meet anyone who did not have some talent in some way.Some maybe more than others… and some who seemed to be able to retain knowledge with a remarkable ease…but none who were failures until they gave up and decided they  had failed….and that brings us to the worst and most pervasive myth of all….
MYTH NUMBER 3.. I am a failure…I am just not artistic…. I tried but I do not have the talent.

            Don’t let  these creative MYTHS turn into TRUE Stories.

Write your own story, and tune in to your own desires to be creative and artsy… it’s not a myth. It’s just a state of mind.
  Let’s take a minute and remember what the word MYTH means… an unrealistic story, legend or fable. Something that is told for the truth based on historical or fantastical  characters or events.. a few facts mixed with a lot of fiction.
 SOOO-O-O…  a myth is kind of like a  good bed time story or a fairy tale?  Good Grief!   If that’s all there is to a  “myth”, then…I am thinking…

Tinkerbell.. you can “take a hike” or better yet…”BUZZ-OFF”. 

P.S. There is no danger in making mistakes – but there is danger in being afraid to learn what we did wrong so we can correct them… the only failure is when you quit. Get going.. your own artistic story is waiting to be written.  You know…The “myths” that  the Great Grandchildren will tell about their artsy ancestry  and  their family tree relatives who dared to go dancing with the Muse.

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