Art & Fear

While we're waiting for me to finish (and find a publisher for) Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy, I'll fill you in on the books that you can read that are already out there and which I have found to be brilliant in one way or another.

First and foremost among any book on the creative process is Art & Fear: observations on the perils (and rewards) of artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland.

The first chapter is titled "The Nature of the Problem," and the first sentence is

Making art is difficult.

And there you have it.

The authors then proceed, over a very readable 118 pages, to address the fears to which visual artists succumb and then to dismantle those fears: self-doubt, looking for acceptance, looking for approval, getting trapped by perfection—one by one they remove all your self-imposed roadblocks to Making the Thing That Is Not.

The second half of the book is devoted to some nuts and bolts issues that visual artists face, but the lessons there are still applicable to any Lichtenbergian artist: viability, connectivity, academia, competition, categorization, etc.

Especially if you're having difficulty getting started, getting even that first ABORTIVE ATTEMPT plopped out there, then stop what you're doing (or not doing) and go buy this book.  You will read it in one sitting; you will re-read it the next day; and then you'll say to yourself, "What was I afraid of?  MAKING ART?"