photo credit jimmiehomeschoolmom via flickr
Today take a real risk that can change your life: start thinking of yourself as an artist and your life as a work-in-progress. Works-in-progress are never perfect…Art evolves. So does life. Art is never stagnant. Neither is life. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
An artist starts with a blank canvas, page, or mound of clay. There is only an idea. In some cases it’s a notion or a sketch that inspires them to dip their paint brush into the bright red paint.
From there they let the design take it’s course. They can’t plan what it will look like in the end. They have an idea, but then allow inspiration to direct their next step.
My Writing Process
As a writer, I know I can have the best laid plans for an article, short story or even the book I’m working on. Once my fingers start typing, however, something different almost always comes out.
I’m inspired by a quote I hadn’t read before. A picture I hadn’t seen. Even an email can send me in a direction I hadn’t planned. As Stephen King writes in his book, On Writing (One of my favorites by the way. My copy is dogeared, highlighted and scribbled in which is why I’ve included an affiliate link):
I want you to understand that my basic belief about the making of stories is that they pretty much make themselves. The job of the writer is to give them a place to grow.
This is a perfect example of that in action. I hadn’t planned on using that quote before I started writing this article. As the article developed, it seemed natural it should be included.
Artist In Your Life
When you accept you are the artist of your life, everything seems possible. You’re more willing to take chances, trust your intuition and allow situations to flow into your life that a moment before seems inconceivable.
Every day you’re presented with “two roads diverged in the wood.” It’s safer to take the road that is well worn. It feels comfortable. It feels safe.
It also feels unconscious.
But it never seems to be the right time.
You’ll start a family, business, new relationship once you have enough money. You’ll spend more time with your parents, potential customers and friends when you have more time. You’ll start writing, painting, playing the flute when you retire.
Waiting for the right time or the perfect conditions is keeping you caught the crossroads. When you get to the intersection, you stop hesitate for a bit, then proceed down the well worn path. There are some crossroads were you languish longer. Even some where you might be paralyzed with the choice.
Here’s a Hint
There is no perfect time. There are no perfect conditions. There is only here and now.
When you get to the crossroads and pause, ask yourself, what’s the worse thing that could happen if I explored a less traveled path? You know you want to, so go ahead and take a step, even if the time seems to be a little off.
Here’s what Joseph Campell had to say about following your bliss:
If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time
Sounds pretty good right? Who knows you may discover something great. Here are some pointers from experienced travelers such as Wayne Dyer, Stephen King, Sarah Ban Breathnach, Oprah, Julia Cameron, Napoleon Hill, Jack Canfield, Marcia Weider, and Lynn Robinson on how to “follow your bliss:”
- Set aside quiet time every day to go within and listen.
- Trust your gut. When you get a nudge in a direction take it.
- Commit fully to the process.
- Dedicate time. When you show up every day it becomes the place you should be.
- Trust yourself, always.
- Learn from your mistakes. Don’t sit around and lick your wounds.
- Your fear is only your ego trying to protect you. Thank it and then move on.
So how will you become an artist in your own life? Believe in yourself. Take the first step. Even if the path is unclear, continue to move in the direction that feels right.