As a human being, we have a natural ebb and flow of energy. Sometimes we are tired, so we sleep or rest. Sometimes we are hungry, so we nourish ourselves. Sometimes we want to go out and be active and a part of whatever is going on in the world and other times we need to be alone.
There are some pervasive rumors or thoughts that artists are lazy. That they just bum around wearing grubby paint covered clothes, philosophizing and getting nothing done. Sometimes, we can actually believe those rumors. Sometimes, we can get caught up in the thoughts that perhaps our pursuits are not valid or worthwhile as a contribution to not only ourselves, but also the society of which we are a part.
The truth is, any artist I know, is a motivated self-starter. Usually, taking on more projects than they can physically handle, probably as a result of these negative rumors we accept about ourselves. We feel that what we are offering maybe is not enough and that we must do more. It is actually more likely that artists are perfectionists and overachievers than lazy bums!
In fact, anyone who has a hobby or does anything extra, besides the bare minimum to survive, is a motivated self-starter. You may not see it that way, but if you are doing more than just sleeping, eating and working, you have outside pursuits and perhaps even goals and dreams and ambitions.
The balance and the trick, with which I struggle regularly, is to be gracious with yourself in these pursuits. To be gracious with your energy and abilities. Sometimes you need to rest. Sometimes, yes, you even need to say 'no' to an opportunity. Sometimes, focusing on just one or two things is plenty and it is all you can ask of yourself; to do anything well or with fullness.
Sometimes I struggle with feeling like a failure because I am not able to literally accomplish EVERYTHING EVER on my 'to do' list. This is my bout with perfectionism. It usually takes me a bit to realize it has occurred, that I have been battling with my own human self and abilities and energy against an unrealistic ideal of accomplishment, so that others wont think I am a lazy artist. But in my moments of non-ridiculous expectations of myself, I know that I have offered enough. If it is what I had for that day, then it was enough and the perfectionist-overachiever-artist can take a step back and rest.
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