E. Maisel, Fearless Creating, Chapter 2 – Making Meaning

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The beginning of this chapter starts with suggestions on how to arrive at new ideas. Here they are:

1. Hushing, holding and being wild and tamed at the same time (processes explained in the first chapter).
2. Working on an idea which an artist has already have but never developed more (= good to keep a visual journal).
3. Having an open mind and eyes = “openness to experience”. As an artist goes around his daily business something out there can attract, fascinated, awake his mind and heart and he suddenly has an idea. (Good to have a journal with you all the time.)
4. Asking himself some big & interesting questions which would provoke his thinking.
5. Thinking about his roots, where he has come from, what does he have in common with other artists.(Exploring tradition)
6. Visiting his collected works: “ideas from the past may still be worth pursuing or they may point to the revolutionary or evolutionary step he is next to take”.
7. Just thinking, spending more time with his own thoughts, analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating.

An artist usually has several ideas, some are difficult and some are easy. Difficult ideas are difficult because (p. 53) they disturb him when he works on them, they test his abilities, they reveal too much about him or appear to have no commercial value. Working on them often means struggle and anxiety, but they are usually those where he grows the most.

When making a decision which idea to pursue (if an easy or a difficult one) the author encourages every aspiring artist to think deeply: about what s/he is doing, to be true to himself, to judge his own circumstances and to consider all pros and cons. “Whose art is it? It is the artist’s.”

At the end of this chapter there are some good exercises on how to arrive at ideas and several interesting tests which can be used to asses the rightness of ideas.

The author encourages a reader to actually read the book AND to start to work on a piece of art at the same time, so that the text speaks to a reader more.
I have been doing so and I find these the most helpful ideas so far (from the two chapters and introduction):

1. creating is a work and most of the time hard work, (So do I/you really want this extra work in my/your life?)
2. when creating we make tens/hundreds of little decisions, some of them are big, some little
3. decision making can be sometimes (very) difficult and causes anxiety, if we don’t know how to manage an anxiety at a certain stage of our creative process, we block (the author speaks about anxiety management throughout the book and in Appendix)
4. one way how to manage anxiety is to choose easy(ier) ideas and easy(ier) way how to realize them, but it inevitably has an impact on the quality of his work and his own growth.
5. I love the way he encourages to hush, spend time alone, think. I find it quite rare and almost unique in this noisy times and noisy world.

So far there is only one thing which leaves me a bit puzzled: the whole part about being wild.
The word “wild” (person) has got a negative connotation to me. When I think about it pictures of different wild artists: drunkards, drug addicts…pop up in my mind. Too many can’t create if they are not on some substance or too many can’t bear their fame if they are without it. Or that group of artists who are wild because they want to be different but are only vulgar and their art is trash. Oh, I don’t know…
I would at least replace this term with a word FREE, free inside, whatever that word means to each of us. To me it is the freedom as The Bible describes it, freedom in Christ Jesus.

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2 thoughts on “E. Maisel, Fearless Creating, Chapter 2 – Making Meaning

  1. Pingback: Fearless Creating by Eric Maisel « Red 2 White

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