Try Doing Life Off the Computer Screen for Awhile

Laura Quilligan
3 min readJun 16, 2021

I find myself on the computer way too much. It feels like a compressed reality to me most of the time. Everyone’s lives are right out there online, including me. All the details with photos, sounds, what we like, don’t like, how to make videos, how to be a better person, how to be extremely successful, how to be happy, and how to brush your teeth and comb your hair.

Because I’m an artist and creativity coach I go online. Due to the pandemic, most art galleries, and art related sites are online. It wasn’t like this before. It wasn’t this compressed sense of reality. I do enjoy looking at art on Instagram, but it’s also very overwhelming. The scroll becomes an external thing you do to look at art vs. going to a museum (when they are open) or walking along the street to an art gallery…Of course the pandemic changed all that last year.
So it does make sense to look at art online.

What can happen, however, is that one starts to compare your own art to others, and especially when they have thousands of followers.

In the book, Art and Fear, the authors David Bayles & Ted Orland support the viewpoint of doing your own work no matter what:

“The important point here is not that you have or don’t have what other artists have but rather that it doesn’t matter whatever they have is something needed to do their work. It wouldn’t help you in your work even if you had it. Their magic is theirs. You don’t lack it. You don’t need it. It has nothing to do with you .Period.”

Letting go of the external consumption of online art sites will help you just BE with your own unique voice, whatever it is.

I was listening to a talk years ago from the Taos modernist painter Bea Mandelman. At one point a woman in the audience shared her concern about wanting to be an artist, and felt bad because all she wanted to do was paint horses. She sheepishly shared her story as someone who was doing unimportant art. Bea said to forget the attitude that what she was doing wasn’t important, and said if you want to paint horses on the weekend, do it! She wanted to help the woman change her attitude that her art making wasn’t valid. The act of doing art, no matter what, is the way to embrace the healing qualites that accompany art making. From Art and Fear, in the chapter, “Fears About Others”, the authors point out;

“We carry real and imagined critics with us constantly — a veritable babble of voices, some remembered, some prophesized and each eager to comment on all that we do. Beyond that even society’s general notions about art making confront the artist with paralyzing contradictions.”

One of the biggest blocks to our creative process is the overbearing inner critic. I talk to my inner critic frequently. It’s more like a contentious discussion. At times, my inner critic seems kind of tired and can’t make a valid point! When I refresh and reframe my thinking, the inner critic more or less agrees that the reset is better!

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Laura Quilligan

Artisan, certified Kaizen Muse Creativity Coach. Your creativity is a journey of courage and perseverance. I can help with your blocks. Wanderinyourwonder.com