Eric Maisel’s ‘The van Gogh Blues’ 2

September 20, 2009

Continued from Eric Maisel’s The van Gogh Blues 1

If I were asked to single out the one most important piece of advice in this book, it would be that creatives need to take action in service of their creative work.

Anxiety and indecision keep us procrastinating when we could act. Maisel says that if on a day we take one tiny step toward a creative project, then we can count that day as successful.

He emphasizes how we have to do this even when we don’t feel like it!! ( A big one for me). In my own experience, just showing up at the page, or the harpsichord, or the computer even when I feel dull and empty of inspiration, almost always helps.  Maisel says that taking an action, no matter how small, is the one most proactive healing thing we can do for ourselves. And that it will protect us from falling into a downward spiral that can end in depression and creative paralysis.

He also suggests that we know very well when we are procrastinating/just keeping busy, and when we are doing something in service of our art. For example, clearing out old files can be a way to waste time, or it can be the preparation for a new creative cycle. Only you know which one you are engaged in.

Paraphrasing from the book:

You have to risk unleashing your passion even with the possibility you will be disappointed. Creative people can’t resign themselves to postmodern meaninglessness. They always come back to the belief that a meaningful life can be led and they are obliged to at least try.

You decide every day to matter. You decide every day to live authentically, reckon with the facts of existence, and doing so your  truth becomes more eloquent.

Creating, as a life’s commitment, is hard; it is your heroic work. 

When we are not true to ourselves we suffer.
When we are true to ourselves we suffer.

I do my creative work anyway.

3 Responses to “Eric Maisel’s ‘The van Gogh Blues’ 2”

  1. Claudia ;D Says:

    Thank you Sarah, great reminder!

  2. acombrink Says:

    Thankyou for the positive posting! I have just bought this book and even the first few pages ahs already had a strong impact. Your post summarises a lot of the most valuable points.

    thank you
    Albert Combrink

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