internal conflict in the studio

Last week Quinn McDonald published The Pull of Inner Critic and Inner Hero and it really got me thinking.   I’ve known for some time that my strengths are also a kind of curse: I guess if you build a strong fortress, then when you are under siege you’re a prisoner in a jail of your own making.

It took a long time to realise that my being a ‘mucker’ (my uncle’s nickname for me), always exploring and trying new things, never settling on anything for long, made me incredibly versatile.   It took time too to realise that being a Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none wasn’t as demeaning as it sounds, because that reframes as being versatile as well.  These dubious titles led to me developing the belief that if someone else can do whatever, the chances are I can.

So this versatility, this confidence that I can do just about anything I want, how is that a curse?  It’s a curse because I want to do everything and I want to do it now and I want to do it perfectly!  And no surprises, that plan just isn’t working out well!

That aspect of my versatile Inner Hero that says “Of course you can!” is countered by the damnable  Inner Critic who provides a smorgasbord of possibilities and as a consequence I’m stunned like a possum in a cars headlights.

Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Tammy Garcia once wrote ‘much better to start late than never begin at all’ which eventually gave me the blog name, Late Start Studio.  And yes, I’m starting late, and I know I don’t have to catch up I just have to start but oh, I want to catch up!  And I want to be a master of something!   But what?    Here I am, stunned, frozen, telling myself “just to something!”  Anything!  Just pick something and DO IT!  But one day I make some crazy stuffed creature, or a little soft sculpture, or paint a page in my journal, make another stencil or stamp or pencil-case or . . . you get the picture.

Versatile Inner Hero on one hand, Inner Critic spilling out all the options like the contents of a suitcase on the other.    I guess I’ll just have to settle for being a Master Mucker!

Those who wait for every little thing to be perfect before they embark on a project or who dislike the compromise of a partial solution are among the least happy.  Ideal circumstances are seldom given to anyone for an undertaking.

Deng Ming-Dao: 365 Daily Meditations, p.295

11 thoughts on “internal conflict in the studio

  1. There is inspiration in mucking. It’s one of my favorite studio habits. The corollary to “your bad habits have roots in your good habits” is “every habit is a gift and comes with a price.” Perfectionism is the destroyer, but mucking about, trying things may mean not gaining perfection (which is a good thing) but it also means much exploring and understanding. Good trade off, I’d think.

    • A great trade off! These days I’m more likely to muck around until I find something I want to perfect . . . it’s a much more satisfying approach. I’ve been known to do quite a few things out of their usual order during my lifetime and I can’t see a reason to change now!

  2. Wendy, I also am a “mucker.” Sometimes I am frustrated with that because I’ll try something new and want it to be “perfect” on the first go. I’m working on remembering that this is all about self expression and not about perfection.

      • sure is. I am currently learning how to “actively procrastinate’ instead of just doing what I call ‘dead time’.
        the trick is though to not let the active procrastination veer off into hours upon hours and the original task gets left behind !.

  3. Oh. My. Do I have a book for you to read! I just finished “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher. In it you will recognize yourself and learn the why’s and how’s of Scanners….that’s someone like, well, you! (and me) Enjoy!!!

    • I just checked out the preview on Amazon (funny how that means something other than the river) and reckon you’re right! Why is it I grew up thinking that that to do ‘something’ with your life, meant one thing? Nah . . . do everything!

  4. A mucker! That is what I am!! Funny i have always considered that phrase jack of all trades applied to me. And i have not seem it as a positive. I had never reframed it as versatile. I prefer that view much more than too lazy to become really good at something.

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