Whether you are a painter, musician, actor, or designer, the one thing most artists have in common is the phenomenon of ‘artist anxiety.’
While other types of anxiety often are a consequence of the fear of loss concept, this is not the case with Artist Anxiety. The fear of loss situation mostly revolves around the fear of losing out on a business deal, a (social) support system, product, etc.
What artists fear the most is not as tangible as in other professions. They mainly fear a loss of momentum. I am referring to their moments with bursts of inspiration, when art flows like water, and new ideas run as deep as the ocean.
When we compare artists to business executives, for example, their work requires a different type of goal setting. Executives use their minds more instead of their hearts. With artists, it’s the other way around to produce satisfying work.
From time to time they arrive at a point where this doesn’t happen for a while, and as a consequence get disconnected, creating distance between everything that is dear to them, including friends and family, which makes it even harder to create new art.
In an ideal situation, we would rather prevent than cure, but being on a hectic schedule as they are, there isn’t always much room for preventive measurements. The limited free time artists get is mostly meant for spending time with loved ones and activities they don’t get to do enough of which are dear to them. This is a good thing because a lot of inspiration for new work is drawn from these activities.
But once they do get disconnected, the danger is a vicious circle of inspiration drainage.
To avoid the above it is important to spot the signs early on and manage them, so it’s still possible to prevent severe types of anxiety which can lead to burnout, or even worse, depression.
An important factor is finding a pattern in these moments, so we know when anxiety is triggered. More important is learning to spot new signs of momentum, despite experiencing anxiety. The latter will balance out moments of restlessness, and decrease its frequency.
In the beginning, it is unfortunately easy to overlook the signs of anxiety since everyone has an off day, or even an off week or month every now and then. Harder to spot are patterns since they are not always that apparent and obvious.
So what signs should you be looking for?
Are you creating as much as you would like to?
Are your creative moments painful or pleasurable?
Are you procrastinating?
Are you holding back or feeling ashamed to share your work?
Keeping track of these ‘on’ and ‘off’ moments is a good way to discover a pattern in your creative process. Not only will it show you when you are at risk, but it will also indicate where you should find favorable periods and make it easier to deal with anxiety once you have implemented healthy coping techniques.
Want to know more about Artist Anxiety? Get in touch with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org