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Linda Dessau : Sharing Our Creative Work with Others

Sharing Our Creative Work with Others

By Linda Dessau

In "Roadblocks to Creativity", I ask the question:

"What's your first thought if someone hesitates before giving you their opinion about your creative project?"

One artist wrote

"When some one hesitates before giving their opinion of my work, I think it is going to be negative; I recently showed some work to my boss and her criticism was so harsh that I now won't show her anything, but the worse part is — it made me even more conscious of showing my work to others as well. She was going through some hard stuff at the time, so my timing was way off.

"I now will show my work if it is something I am really sure of — or to someone that isn't so harsh. When showing some one else my work — if I get a negative response I take it as some thing against me personally. Not too smart."

I replied to this person:

"It's too bad that you had such a negative experience when you showed your work to your boss. It's great that you recognize that she was having a bad day, and that her response had more to do with that than the value of your work. But I hear some distorted thinking that now you can NEVER show her anything ("all or nothing" is a prime example of distorted thinking).

"I think you're absolutely wise to protect your fragile creative projects as they're being brought into the world. There are certain stages of a project when you really should choose very carefully who you share them with."

This correspondence got me thinking about the fragility and sensitivity of the artist soul, the seeming insensitivity of the "real world" and how to bridge the two.

Two of my creativity heroes, Julia Cameron and SARK, each have much to say on the subject.

Julia Cameron, in the chapter of The Artist's Way titled "Week 12: Recovering a Sense of Faith", describes "Wet Blankets" as those people in our lives who dampen our creative spirit. She suggests that we "move silently among doubters", and that we actually craft lists of who will nourish and support us and those who are sure to act as "Wet Blankets." Then it's up to us to protect our creative dreams by choosing carefully who to share them with.

SARK, in the chapter of Make Your Creative Dreams Real titled "Fabulous Fifth Month: Creative Dreams Support Systems", advises us to be proactive and that we teach our friends and family how best to support us in our creative work. She gives concrete suggestions about what to say and what to ask for. She also gives guidelines for looking outside your regular circle of family and friends and forming a "creative dream team" with other artists for the specific purpose of nurturing each other's creativity.

Julia Cameron also points out that a common self-sabotage mechanism can be running straight to a "Wet Blanket" when we've got something exciting (therefore scary) going on. I've done this myself.

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