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Why Hiding is Killing Your Art.

***I want to take a moment to say how deeply saddened I am by the hatred that caused the mass killing of innocent people in the LGBTQ community in Orlando, FL on June 12th in a terrorist attack. I am disgusted by the act and in awe of the bravery that the LGBTQ community has shown since the attack. Click here to donate to the victims of the attack.***

When your ego is trying to mess with you.

Failing vs. Not Really Trying

Being Quiet vs. Hiding

Churning out “Content” vs. Creating Stuff

I’ve had a lot floating through my brain over the past few 6 weeks. I’ve been being a mom, doing an interview for Ramit Sethi, had writing deadlines, work projects, my baby sister’s wedding, and other random activities going on in my life and none of it was lost on me.

The main idea that kept cropping up for me was ego.

I know…this is a writing blog and not a personal development blog. But wait, grasshopper! If you’ve tried writing stuff…you’ve come face to face with every single piece of resistance [dormant or alive and kickin’] in your pretty little body.

So, ego. And then…personal development.

Failing vs. Not Really Trying

I’ve tried and failed at so many damn things.

But if it weren’t for trying and failing I would’ve just not taken any action at all, shielding my ego from failure but also giving myself 0% chance at success! Damn. So in other words, to protect myself from hurt and pain (but also from possibly experiencing joy and love) I could just not put myself out there at 100%.

That ego tho.

Just recently I had this happen to me. I had an opportunity to try something new. Guess what I did? I thought about doing nothing, backing out retreating. Instead…I showed up. Low and behold: I got rejected.

So who gives a crap? It totally stung in the moment and it kind of still does to be perfectly candid, but I don’t regret anything at all. I 100% would’ve always wondered “what if” had I not taken a chance.

via GIPHY

I’m pretty sure I learned this lesson and keep relearning it because I’m in sales and also because I’m a writer and was an actress. These professions repeatedly prove three things:

  1. It’s never only about you.
  2. It’s a numbers game.
  3. Having a great network is important, but not vital.

So, how can you know that “you’re not really trying”?

Simple.

  • You avoid taking action because you don’t feel like being rejected.
  • You’re waiting “for the right timing.”
  • You’re not sure if you should do A, B or C project or idea (i.e. “confused).
  • You’re settling for a job, relationship, living situation because it would be “hard” to take a different path.

These are all indications that you’re not really trying.

Now listen, I don’t condone recklessness. But there is a massive crevasse between being reckless and staying small out of fear. You need to carefully cross that crevasse; and you don’t have to do it by jumping.

(That would be reckless).

Getting honest with yourself is a grrrreat start.

If you’re any kind of artist, I highly recommend doing The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It will gently take you face to face with your resistance and assist you in dismantling your walls while you get to work on your art.

How fun is that?

This is where I want to tell you all sorts of things about how failing is way more fun than not even trying.

Because, it’s true! I just got out of a dance class where I couldn’t turn to the right doing the cha-cha (we didn’t even try the left), for the life of me. I laughed it off and then I got it.

It would have been insane for me to shut down and say “UGH! I can’t do it!” That makes no logical sense. I just listened to my teacher and figured that shit out. With my body, not my mind.

The mind is where the ego plays. And the ego doesn’t like to fuck up.

Oh well, ego. Welcome to life…! In case you didn’t know, it’s a shit show around here at times.

I’m not even going to get into the number of writing contests or magazines I’ve been rejected from. Trust there are many. But I’ve gotten some damn good writing out of it. Writing for contests or to try and be published is the equivalent of trying to lose weight and entering a race of some kind. It gives you something to work towards.

So listen up, writers, business owners, artists…create stuff. Launch the course. Try and fail. Try and fail again. Keep doing that over and over. Learn lessons along the way, perfect your craft and then keep at it.

Never think that doing just one thing will get you the success you desire. Success, to me, is something you earn over time. You’re supposed to be creating a body of work for God’s sake…not just a one off something or other you came up with on the fly.

This brings me to point #2:

Being Quiet Vs. Hiding

Hiding and “not really trying” are cousins, but they’re not the same person. Heck, they’re not even siblings. They’re cousins who live in the same town and hang out a lot and their parents (who are sisters) think they shouldn’t need any other friends because they birthed these two people who share some genetic things. But they’re still not siblings. And they’re definitely not the same person.

When you hide, you’re really in bad shape. You go very inward, in a way that doesn’t feel good. And it’s in those moments that you actually need other people. You need to feel heard. Your art needs to breathe. But somewhere, your EGO is telling you it’s like the apocalypse and you need to take cover.

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If you’re in this place, I’m here to pull you out of the quicksand. Here’s the deal: it’s not the apocalypse. Death is hopefully not knocking on your door. You’re just an artist, writer, singer, entrepreneur, healer, coach, person who has so many ideas that you might explode so instead of exploding you’re hiding.

Newsflash: ideas cannot cause people to explode.

Now, I want to pause here and take a moment to honor the process of being quiet. Being quiet is different than hiding in that being quiet is a conscious choice a person makes, not a decision to EGO pushes you to take.

You know when you’re simply being quiet because you’re still processing ideas. You still hang out with your friends and family. You don’t think you’ve lost your mind. You don’t think the world has lost its mind. You might even write some ideas down and let them stew. You read things and consider varying opinions. You may feel angry, but you don’t lash out.

You’re not stuffing…you’re just: being quiet.

I believe so deeply in being quiet. About 6 months before I got sober in 2004, I listened to that song “These Days” by Nico on repeat. I had seen The Royal Tenenbaums and loved that soundtrack.

I’ve been out walking
I don’t do too much talking, these days –
These days … These days I seem to think a lot,
About the things that I forgot to do
And all the times I had the chance to

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Something about this song resonated with me, deeply. I know, I know I can be dramatic. But hell, I enjoy the crap out of my life. The ups, downs and in betweens.

How can you shift from hiding into being quiet? Damned if I know.

Just kidding! I’ve got tools, kids.

For me, because I did hide out A LOT when I was younger, I have several things that I do to push myself out of hiding and into the world, quietly. 100% of these tools someone else gave to me.

  1. Show up for everything, even when you don’t want to. Don’t go overboard. Just be there.
  2. Call your friends and tell them you’re struggling.
  3. Go see a therapist.
  4. Do The Artist’s Way
  5. Watch a comedy.
  6. Write your ideas down.
  7. Talk nicely to yourself.
  8. Help someone else.
  9. Pray.
  10. Dance.

This assumes you’re not suffering from clinical depression, in which case you need to get to a doctor. This assumes you’re just in an artists rut and you don’t think you can dig out of it at the moment.

I promise you can.

Dig baby, dig.

Oh, point #3.

Churning out “Content” vs. Creating Stuff

There are people who are on the entire opposite end of this spectrum that probably either scare the living crap out of you or make you think you need to do it like them in order to succeed. These are The Churners.

The Churners can churn out content like it’s life or death. Maybe it is to them. Who knows? You see these people churning out so much content with such voracity that you think you need to do that, too.

Pause for a moment and get quiet.

Don’t hide.

Discern.

Decide what YOU think about this type of “artistry.” Is this the type of art you want to create? If it is, please help me to understand why. I’m all for creating day in and day out, but you don’t need to share it all with everyone in real time. I’m 100% against this. I think it’s energetically damaging.

Churning out content is garbage.

I think it’s for people who are scared.

Creating stuff takes discipline and an aesthetic commitment. When you’re an entrepreneur, writer or artist…you need to have an aesthetic standard for what you’re doing or else what you create will be at a level decided upon by the masses and the problem with this is that the masses are looking to you for your expert advice, ideas or work but you’re letting THEM steer the ship.

It can’t end well.

Creating stuff is where the future of everything worthwhile in life is really headed. You’re either going to be churning out crank content and bullshit ideas hourly or you’re going to be creating meaningful work over time.
It’s your call…who do you choose to be?

Everything is a choice. Fate can only take you so far. When the Universe delivers people, opportunities and ideas to you, it is always going to fall back on the choices you make that will dictate your future. So, choose wisely.

I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on these interwoven topics

Failing vs. Not Really Trying

Being Quiet vs. Hiding

Churning out “Content” vs. Creating Stuff

Where are you right now in your creative journey?

How can you create something with deeper impact that you won’t regret later?

What can you do today that you’ve been putting off?

Love to hear YOUR thoughts!

xo

Alison

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