100 Words About
Published in

100 Words About

Real Artists Aren’t Tortured

There’s a common belief in the phenomenon of the “tortured artist.” That if you hope to make it as a creator, the price you have to pay is madness. You’ll cut off your ear like Vincent Van Gogh, or succumb to suicide like Sylvia Plath.

But for each of these tortured artists, there are plenty of others who were just fine. We don’t hear their stories, because they don’t help us tell our own story—that it’s okay that we’re self-loathing or addicted to drugs or misanthropic, because that’s the way artists are. They help us justify not being professionals.

You don’t always have control over your mental health, but you do have control over the stories you tell yourself about why you conduct yourself the way you do.

Yes, having uncreated art inside you is agony. But that’s all the more reason not to let that agony lead you into self-destructive beliefs. That’s all the more reason to put to work habits, routines, and methods of thinking that help you make those visions a reality.

Hat tip to Jeff Goins’s Real Artist’s Don’t Starve.

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David Kadavy

David Kadavy

Author, ‘Mind Management, Not Time Management’ https://amzn.to/3p5xpcV Former design & productivity advisor to Timeful (Google acq’d).