“Facing Avoidance”

A.R.T.S. ANONYMOUS
An Inventory of Attitudes and Beliefs About Doing Art

Am I waiting for inspiration to strike before I’m willing to do my art?

Do I set aside a regular time and space for doing my art?

Do I scorn discipline as not being artistic?

Do I feel true artists don’t have to try – that their work flows effortlessly?

Do I enjoy and encourage distractions and interruptions which keep me from beginning or continuing on my work?

Do I believe I’m supposed to have the same level of artistic ability and enthusiasm each day? And the same output?

Have I developed any warm-up routines to help me get started?

Am I gentle with myself in evaluating my first efforts?

Do I enjoy escaping from doing my art only to feel guilty later?

Am I waiting for the perfect time and place and situation before I do my art?

Am I willing to accept the uncertainty of the creative process?

Am I willing to accept myself whether I am flowing with ideas or not?

Do I paralyze myself with self-criticism?

Have I developed ways to create and maintain my working momentum?

Do I work compulsively, exhausting myself and then use avoidance for relief?

Do I set daily goals?  Are they realistic?

Am I willing to create work that I can respect – and accept responsibility for it?

Do I see each day as a new opportunity to work, regardless of how the work went yesterday?

Do I understand that avoidance is a serious problem that threatens my well-being?

Do I believe that I am worth the time, space, money, and energy my art requires?

Do I feel guilty about doing my art?  Has feeling guilty become a comfortable habit?

Do I keep working despite self-doubt?

Have I integrated my creativity with my physical well-being, family life, spiritual life, and financial security?

Do I accept that pursuing my art requires discipline, practice, and consistent work?

Do I spend time thinking about the work but not doing it?

Do I believe that I must be prolific to be an artist?

Does my concern about how my work will be received keep me from doing it?

Am I willing to tolerate awkwardness, false starts, dry spells, and mistakes as part of the process?

Am I using the tools of the program such as meetings, the Twelve Steps, a daily commitment to do my art, and giving service?

Do I seek solutions and ask for help when I get stuck?

Do I know the difference between avoiding work and allowing an idea or project to incubate?

Do I expect easy success and quick reward for my work?

Do I make and keep commitments to myself, to my sponsor, and/or to my meeting?

Do I realize that my art is incomplete until it is communicated?

Am I afraid that success will harm my relationships?

Do I kid myself that I’m working when, in fact, I am delaying by excessive preparations, note-gathering, supply-collecting, expert-consulting, etc.?

Do I neglect myself so that I’m too ill, too tired, or too distracted to do my art?

Do I keep my life so overbooked that I haven’t any time or energy to create?

Do I talk my ideas away so that I’ve lost my enthusiasm when it’s time to work?

Do I kid myself that I’m creating because I earn my living in a field related to my art?

Do I half-try by showing up without proper materials or the concentration necessary to do the work?

Do I realize that creativity demands a very high level of physical, intellectual, and emotional commitment?

Do I forgive myself when I haven’t met my goals?

Do I acknowledge myself when I make an honest attempt to work?

Do I celebrate my victories, however small?

Do I allow my self-will to limit my creativity by insisting that it operate the way I want?

Do I use discouragement and disappointment to avoid doing my art?

Do I accept that talent without craft is insufficient and that practice is essential to developing craft?

Do I understand that doing the work always depends on me — not my family’s attitude, encouraging teachers, conducive circumstances, an appreciative audience, etc.?

Do I set aside the best possible time for doing my work?  Do I allot enough uninterrupted time for doing something meaningful?

Am I willing to believe that the source of my ideas is infinite?

Am I grateful for the ideas I get, realizing that nourishing them encourages more and better ideas?

Have I organized my work space so that I can concentrate?

Do I make appropriate efforts to share my art?

Do I realize that inspiration is likely to come after I start work?  That what I need will come to me when I need it if I make the effort?

Do I allow my fear of being alone to keep me from working?

Do I realize that feelings of being overwhelmed will diminish as I work?

Am I willing to distinguish my work from my self-worth, so that unproductive days don’t lessen my self-esteem?

Do I realize that feelings of self-doubt are common among artists?

Do I understand that any work of art could be endlessly improved? Do I obsessively revise or “fix” the same project or segment, never completing it?

Do I discount my accomplishments?

Do I avoid doing my work because I fear losing my sanity or becoming overwhelmed by the unknown?

Do I avoid doing my art for fear that I’ll do it compulsively, upsetting the balance in my life?

Do I avoid my art because I fear becoming so engrossed in the imaginary work I create that I’ll lose touch with reality?

Do I hate myself when I avoid doing my art?

Do I avoid doing what’s most challenging by doing peripheral tasks?

Am I afraid that my success with deprive someone else of theirs?

Am I afraid that I’ll get more ideas than I can handle?

Do I consider my talent a gift to be shared with others?

Am I willing to live with the uncertainty, discipline, solitude and concentration necessary to enjoy the creative process?

Do I help others by teaching or counseling at the expense of my own art?

Do I remember that the same Higher Power which sends me creative energy can give me the strength and guidance I need to use it?

Do I allow myself quiet time to renew my spiritual inflow?

Do I present, promote, and preserve my art with the respect it deserves?

Do I allow myself the tools and equipment I need to work with reasonable ease?

Do I scorn organization and record-keeping as inartistic?

Do I clean up and put things away when I am done so that I do not have to wade through a mess and hunt missing items to begin again?

Do I manage my money so that I can buy the supplies needed to pursue my art, whether or not I choose to earn money from my art?

Do I avail myself of community support:  Art Councils, group shows, jam sessions, poetry readings, etc. which can benefit me?

(Downloaded from artsanonymous.org/literature.  Emphasis is mine.)

 

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