Limits and Creativity
This has been coming through my Twitter feed:
“If you want to make a living off your art, you’re going to have to sacrifice a part of it.” –Nicole Stevenson
And today I edited the podcast we recorded a month ago. And I heard this from Melanie Cramer:
“There’s a lot to be said for knowing your limits.”
My scene design professor was always singing, “Limitations are your friends,” to us.
This is all very different from the “Follow your Dreams,” “If you work hard enough you can achieve anything,” and “If you’re determined, nothing can stop you.” That’s the Bullshit that I heard often enough to believe through high school, college, and most of graduate school.
Dreaming big never helped me get any work done. I’ve been determined and lost out on grants and on jobs, I’ve failed in auditions and I’ve made some bad shows. In fact I am a really determined person and lots has stopped me. I’ve worked really hard and I know here in my forties that I can’t achieve anything. I certainly can’t achieve everything. Because limits are real.
Owning up to my limits is one of those acts of maturity that I hate.
Choices I have made as a human mean that I am never going to be an astronaut or a Broadway actress or the next Julie Taymor. I’m also probably not going to be wealthy enough to retire to Majorca. Or maybe retire ever.
And time is so limited I can’t pursue an eighth of my own great ideas and I only get about four hours a day with my kids.
Which puts me up against another limit. I want to spend time with my kids while they still want me to. And that means that rehearsals from 7-10 in the evening every single night for six weeks are out. That means I have to create this year’s show in a way that does not require seven actors to rehearse together in the same space at the same time. And that means I’m throwing ideas out. Lots of them. And I hate that.
But the piece is coming together far more quickly than I expected. Yup — limitations are my friends. I can’t pursue every idea. Only the ones that meet my rehearsal parameters. So, I have fewer ideas to pursue and thus writing the piece is taking less time. And I’m making up some really interesting stuff that I would not have come up with without the rehearsal limitation. I hate it when my grad school professors are right.
I really admire the maturity that Melanie brings to her story in this week’s podcast and her absolute honesty about how being told that she could accomplish everything contributed to her depression.
This year I am working on being honest with myself about what is truly possible for me to accomplish despite my enthusiasm for absolutely everything. It turns out that even though I am a hard-working, determined, person with dreams, I need to embrace my limitations and allow them to guide me.
If you are a pleaser who is enthusiastic about everything but has trouble accepting and embracing your limits, Jenifer’s “Say No and Let it Go” webinar is made for you!
- Discover WHY saying no will help you level up in your career.
- Learn WHEN to say no.
- Get simple strategies to know HOW to say no… and then let it go.
- Get the FREE (funny, helpful) Say No Flow Chart.
- Q&A Session included following the webinar presentation.
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