12:00 pm – Blotting Out My Demons One Week At a Time

Today, as I was shuffling through an old keepsake box, I came across a couple of gifts I bought for myself long ago to help me get on track with my writing. The first is a Box of Thoughts on Creativity (full of inspirational quotes from artists), the second is a box-set labeled 52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity by Lynn Gordon. From each box of cards, I found similar messages. For example,

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52 inspirational musings for each week of the year.

When facing the blank canvas, the blank screen, or the shapeless lump of clay, there are endless, potentially debilitating ways to convince yourself that it makes more sense to get up and wash the dishes instead. There’s that old standby, Fear of Failure: “What if I don’t get on Oprah/get a gallery/get a life?” And it’s paradoxical cousin, Fear of Success: “What if I do get on Oprah, and I’m still not rich/thin/happy?” There’s the need to surpass, or bypass, your parents’ expectations; the desire to do better than that successful younger brother, just this once. Exorcising one’s demons is a lifelong process that begins with one simple step: identify them. Then you can face them down as you go (52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity).

And then,

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A box of quotes

The devil himself always seems to get into my inkstand, and I can only exorcise him by pensful at a time (Nathaniel Hawthorne).

I’m glad I re-discovered these keepsakes. I plan to use the cards as my daily mantra, starting now.

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