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Reminding yourself of what’s important

June 29, 2016

collage-Triangle in a BoxI am a victim of my insatiable desire to gather information. As a result, I have subscribed to several online art coaches, artist blogs, and many online organizations for artists (educational, social, and market oriented), not to mention several special interest groups on Facebook. I save tons of “stuff” in folders on my computer to get back to it later…because I rarely have the time or the inclination to pay attention at the moment of intersection.

And here’s what I am thinking: the reason I am stuck sometimes is that there are too many choices, and too many sources of juicy information that I simply cannot process all of them. Those burgeoning folders on my hard drive are very similar to my non-digital overflowing closets. That “stuff” never really goes away. Instead it waits patiently for me—I simply add it to the amount I drag around mentally every day, thinking “I should have a look at that.” Hmmm. It’s not just about painting or making art…it’s linked to a desire to tap into expertise or knowledge outside of my own. But the kicker is that I am overwhelmed by the amount.

I need to apply a filter and make a decision on how much I want to let in. Otherwise I’m constantly surfing for knowledge nuggets or creative stimuli and I’m never digging deeper into ideas or developing my own sensibility before I have been influenced by all of those outside sources.  So, I’m spending time selectively UNSUBSCRIBING and UN-MEMBERING.

I think I have figured out:

Trust my own wisdom (maybe figure it out first). Find my own rhythm. Find my own speed. Limit outside influences. Legitimize my own process.


Here’s an interesting book by William Powers about disconnecting or filtering digital input:

image of the book, Hamlet's Blackberry

6 Comments leave one →
  1. blarsen100 permalink
    June 30, 2016 12:13 pm

    I can totally relate to this! I spend a lot of time online, but I also gain a lot of great information and inspiration that I haven’t found elsewhere. The trick is finding the right balance. Every couple of months I hit a bunch of “unsubscribe” buttons and it gives me breathing space and eliminates too much mental clutter.


    • July 1, 2016 3:55 pm

      Hey Beth,
      So nice to know that this is a shared problem! …and thanks for the reminder that I do actually learn a lot from all of my subscriptions. It’s just that my “wanna know everything” is bigger than my ability to “learn and apply.” LOL


  2. July 2, 2016 8:27 pm

    I feel that our brains may have been separated a birth. An aeon ago I heard that John Cage said, “read everything” as one of his tenets to greatness. I embraced it with every ounce of my being. The catch is… he wasn’t talking about the Internet. But I’m still trying. Glad to hear I have company.


    • July 6, 2016 10:24 am

      I love your comment! …and it made me laugh. Apparently I am easily influenced by the likes of John Cage as well, particularly by those famous artists who say “Paint, paint, paint every day; you must work in your studio!” I don’t do that because it’s never worked for me. But I’m still envious of those that do…

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 6, 2016 12:23 pm

        I’m a member of The Gallery ABQ and I met you when you had your Salon show.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. July 6, 2016 2:01 pm

    Oh, I remember! Weren’t you setting up for a show? Thanks for the reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

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