Nine Things Artists Do To Hold Back Themselves and Their Work
1. Keeping chaotic people or situations in an artist’s life. Whether it’s a friend who needs all of your time, a job which negates your self-worth and has different rules for select individuals, or constant overspending (because you want things immediately!), this chaos takes away from creativity because you’re constantly handling crises. Chaos also coincides with too little alone time. Between meeting with friends, work, events/classes to attend, daily life pressures, and online acquaintances, being perpetually busy may spark genius ideas, but leave no time to implement them.
2. Keeping work unfinished. Leonardo da Vinci is known for the saying “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Perpetually keeping projects in a work-in-progress stage and jumping on to the next, never finishing either, is counterproductive.
3. Having no online presence or one that is incomplete. Examples of this is a bio left blank, failure to make online work sharable/embeddable, a website which reads ‘under construction’ for over a year or an absence of contact information. Additionally, making your trailer/video un-embeddable keeps it from getting views/sharing and prevents algorithms that might propel it further online. There are fellow creative individuals who may want to work with you or have questions about your work. Let them find you and see your creativity!
4. Using substances/coping mechanisms in excess. This includes an overuse of drugs, alcohol, shopping, sex, online addictions, a perverse pleasure in feeling bad, and even getting a negative high off of gossip sites (constantly comparing ourselves to others’ tragedies). As a wise Buddhist once said “What Goes Up, Must Come Down…..” Yes, pain and altered states of consciousness fuel great works (simply look to the music of the 60’s and 70’s and the band Tool’s quote on creativity). Being too down, tired, hung-over, spiritually or financially overdrawn, ruins creativity and even your life.
5. Allowing jealousy, resentment and obsession with another’s success to poison you. Instead of focusing on your gifts and chance to shine you obsess over someone else’s deserved or “undeserved” accomplishments. This includes checking in on what another is up to via social media, hating them for it and telling others how their success was not earned. “Hanging on to a resentment (someone once said) is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill someone else” Author Alice May.
6. Artists who are unwilling to promote their own work. Resorting to “When I get People (i.e., manager, agent, publicist) in place they can promote my work for me. That’s why I pay them.” This may be said in beginning, middle and advanced stages of one’s aspirations. In the meantime…..they have no people, they have little or no money, and nothing happens.
7. Failure to tie up loose ends. Not responding to a final e-mail, getting close to finishing the acting/film reel (but never doing so), constantly keeping things in a ‘to-do” list state. This keeps tasks exactly that way. Unfinished.
8. Failure to study your desired craft — even if it’s a DIY education. ‘Are Great Artists Born or Made?’ argument has valid points on both sides. If you decide to research these findings, you may as well have time to research and practice your favorite art form.
Why Would Someone Sabotage Their Own Hollywood Career? by Tony Zierra of MY BIG BREAK Movie
9. Over relying on a guru, instructor, or group to make decisions and determine if you’re “ready.” The positive power of groups and teachers is transformative. Being controlled or wanting to please the group can be limiting. Sometimes people stay stagnant because they desire group acceptance. Being too successful or unsuccessful may violate unspoken group rules (mores). Determine if your group or guru has you on a short leash or if you’re free to roam, coming back as you wish.