Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

This last weekend I’ve been thinking about the process of going from Planning A Thing to Doing A Thing.  I’ve been in a season of planning for a while now, and getting the swirl of ideas from my brain, to paper broken down in actionable steps to execution has been a weirdly overwhelming experience.

It used to be that the big impediment to a project was a material component.  I needed some art supply or piece of equipment that I couldn’t afford and for what ever reason could not seem to find my way around, and often this issue would stop whatever plan completely.

Later, when I could Afford A Thing, the stumbling block becomes Time and Space.  I never seem to have the creative space I need, and even if I did I’m aware that I don’t have the glorious chunks of time I had back when I had little money to afford supplies since I wasn’t working the way that I work now.

For some reason (namely, that my brain is used to self-sabotaging and will scramble to cover up my insecurity and laziness with Reasons), I’m pretty sure that someone could come and give me a studio and pay me for my time tomorrow and I would see some other stumbling block that I never anticipated to keep me from Doing The Thing.



I worked with a really great therapist last year, and she started to get me back in the habit of journaling and journaling in different ways.  I started to break my ideas down into small, tasty, actionable steps.  I started to have a written record to keep me accountable to what I needed to accomplish.  I became one of those Planner Ladies that you see on Pinterest who lay out their goals on a timeline, and keep to do lists, and manage their time.  (If you are curious my journal is just a spiral bound sketchbook, and my planner is a MAMBI Happy Planner that I got on sale at Michael’s).  I felt like a fraud.  We will talk more about feeling like fraud another time, suffice it to say that I did not understand how to marry the side of my brain that works in office administration with the side of my brain that likes to make small mythological creatures out of clay and ink.  In fact, part of me really believed that they were antagonistic skills to each other, instead of realizing that they are vitally important parts of a whole.



I’ve also realized that it is important to address some of these ideas that keep us from Doing, and that as in most things, these ideas are not unique to my own experience.  So I decided to go back to doing workshops/art meets using the kind of supplies you’d find in most kid’s schoolbags.  My big issue with that idea was… Space!  My friend Kiki mentioned we could use the big table in her tarot shop, and I immediately recoiled… I’ve been thinking about the parellels of art space and devotional space deeply for an upcoming post so working in a space where Tarot readings happen was not an easy idea for me.  But as I started praying about it, and looking for other options it became clear… an answer had been provided.  Not in a comfortable way for me, not in the way I expected, but I had opportunity.

So this weekend we made ATC’s at RockStar Tarot.  With crayola supplies and the leftover scraps from my collage work and papercraft.  And drank tea.  And had a good time. And no one “caught” paganism, we all just made art.  And the fraud police did not show up to call me a bad Christian or a fake artist.  So, I mean, I’m just saying… if you Did The Thing, that probably wouldn’t happen to you either.

8 thoughts on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

  1. Oh yes, I get this. I get this very much. I went through a very long time where I didn’t write. I found every excuse possible (“Have I reorganized the silverware drawer recently? Hmm, better get on that before I start that next chapter!” True story.) Then I was discouraged and disappointed in myself for not writing – the thing I loved. It made no sense but its a cruel cycle. In my case, I was very bogged down by a large typing project. I know that sounds stupid, but I had notebooks and notebooks worth of handwritten work that I needed to type up before I could continue with the novel. The task seemed impossible, maybe you have a task similar that is looming in front of you? Once I tackled it and realized it was not so impossible, I was past that wall. BTW I am not using my own Happy Planner as much as I wanted….right now I am using it as a tool for reminders instead of structuring my day (which had been my original plan for it.) In other words…again, I get this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It doesn’t sound stupid to me, it sounds very natural and human. Amanda Palmer said “stop pretending Art is hard”, and I love it, because art IS hard, but usually not in the ways we make it hard, savvy?


  2. Wow, that is really nice to know that I’m not alone in this. I only know you from reading your blog and from the Facebook group, Erin, but I think of you and also you, Rachel, as being very Doing Art people, whereas I am not. I’ve only just started writing semi-regularly the last six months or so (I’d say “writing semi-regularly AGAIN,” but it’s really for the first time in my life) and kind of fell back into collaging around the same time and, miraculously, I’ve started feeling a lot better. My hurdle is feeling like any given project is just unfinishable from the get-go. I get overwhelmed before I even start or I start feeling like it’ll be crap even if I do finish it and pretty soon I’m giving up and eating leftovers and watching Stargate for hours and hours instead of doing what it is I actually want, in theory, to be doing with my life.

    Also, what are ATC’s?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, to everything that was just said. My main complaint has been “no space”, now I have a beautiful art room, and I’m using the “no time” excuss, and also crying about how I hate my job and how all I want to do is be an artist but I’m stuck, and I can’t seem to get myself unstuck, and some of it is this voice in my head saying I’m being selfish by taking time do paint (though it shuts up if I do meaningless things like play Wow or watch netflix) someone come over and make me do this… lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In my experience, the “you’re being selfish” voice is a chronic liar that tells the truth just often enough to get us to believe it the remaining 99% of the time when it isn’t telling the truth.


  4. On the subject of art and work, I recently had a conversation with a coworker whose job is graphic design and photography. She’s a relatively recent studio art major graduate and she said that among her art major friends, it’s the ones who didn’t get art-related jobs who are making progress on their personal creative projects. The ones who work doing art do it all day; once they get home they don’t want to do more.

    Not that that’s necessarily applicable to your situation, Stephy, but I’ve found it oddly encouraging when it comes to having a not-so-creative day job. Maybe working in an office for most of one’s waking hours doesn’t mean drying up.


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