Remember, your artist is a child. Find and protect that child. Learning to let yourself create is like learning to walk. The artist child must begin by crawling. Baby steps will follow and there will be falls–yecchy first paintings, beginning films that look like unedited home movies, first poems that would shame a greeting card. Typically, the recovering shadow artist will use these early efforts to discourage continued exploration…In recovering from our creative blocks, it is necessary to go gently and slowly. What we are after here is the healing of old wounds–not the creation of new ones. No high jumping, please! Mistakes are necessary! Stumbles are normal. These are baby steps. Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.
-Julie Cameron “The Artist’s Way” p. 29
I help care for a baby named Ashley. She is learning to walk. At first they were tentative steps, her arms held out to balance, her eyes carefully watching the floor. Soon, she became more confident, passing across the room without stopping to crawl halfway through. Soon she was completely mobile, standing herself up from a sitting position and falling only when something caught her off guard or tripped her. It seemed like a big task to me, her endeavor to teach herself to walk. And that was the thing. Even though I’m sure her parents spent time encouraging her to walk, she practiced all on her own. In fact, last week, she spent the whole afternoon carrying around a large toy telephone, something that had to have been incredibly difficult for a first time walker. She would trip and fall, struggle to keep it in her arms, but still she carried it around, as though it was the weights that would make her walking ability stronger. And I’m sure that after that afternoon, she was a much better walker. This week she has spent time with a circular spinning toy. She holds onto it’s raised center, and walks around and around it’s unstable platform. It just seems to me like she is purposefully trying to get better at this walking thing, persistently practicing, never growing discouraged, daily growing better. And her attitude is brilliant! So joyful and expectant, pleased and practical all at the same time. In my journey to grow in my creative expression, I hope to have Abby’s persistent, joyful attitude of daily practice.