Conquering the Mountains – Analysing the Plateaus

copyright 2012 - Mia Laing
Conquering the Mountain, Scotland 2012

Conversations about creativity….man, I love them!  A friend sent me a link to a great post on mastering your craft –  no matter whether it is art, sport or just generally excelling at something you love to do… or  want to learn to do.    Here’s the link…

Did ya read it??  Huh, huh? Did ya?  It’s a goodie.

Just in case you didn’t read it (yet!) it’s all about plateaus.  Those lovely vistas that occur at intervals on a climb up a mountain, but can leave you wondering if you will ever reach the top.  I find my self on them often.  The  slow, humbling mastery of oil painting and photography,   stalling and doubting myself, then finding I’m leaving the plateau once again and beginning another slow and steady learning climb and curve.

It all becomes a personality and temperament issue…how you handle the plateaus mentally, will see you camping out indefinitely on the plateau or just passing through for a short stay.  Handling the hard, stressful, painful parts of creativity is therefore, more about character then talent.

The first plateau you are likely to encounter is the ability To Stick With It. Patience is a virtue.  The realisation that you won’t be a master painter, photographer, marathon runner over night. Read YEARS…you need years of guts and keep on keeping on.  Character…not talent,  will see you progressing through this stage.  Guts, stamina, goals, planning, taking one muddy, heavy step at a time up that mountain.  Believe in yourself.  If you believe in God,  believe you have been given a gift and need to use it.

Use it or lose it.

The second plateau is all about Practising deliberately. Be patient!  It takes sheer hard work and practise, over and over and over again, over a long period of time.  Cramming and thinking you can learn something overnight just doesn’t work!  Rest and relaxation must be combined with patiently slogging it out, or burn out can result. Dont push too hard.

Be a plodder.

The last plateau, a painful one, is all about Embracing Discomfort.  Sometimes the plateau is so comfortable and the vista so beautiful, that it becomes too easy to stay there far longer than you should.  Other trekkers up the mountain pass you by and you happily and contentedly wave them on whilst you go about settling into your deck chair to admire the vista once more.

copyright Mia Laing
We did it!

Take off your Ugg boots and get those hiking boots back on!  Try something new…you might get worse before you get better but at least you are trying.  Pursue your mountain climb and get rid of your fear of taking the path less trodden.

Try new things, even if its looks like you might fail.

I’m currently on an Embracing Discomfort plateau.  This term I changed from the morning class I have attended for the last two years, to do an afternoon class.

It has involved drawing.  DRAWING.

I dislike am learning to embrace the patience it takes to draw and not use my very fast projector.  Its been good.  I can draw…I just need to be patient. (Photo’s of this painting next week!)

How are you doing? Is this ticking some boxes for you? What plateau are you currently enjoying?

Plodding right along, paintbrush in hand, camera around my neck,

Mia x

2 thoughts on “Conquering the Mountains – Analysing the Plateaus

  1. Hi Mia – I have a slightly different angle on this. I have definitely had that plateauing feeling with my counselling/healing business and my writing but as the years have gone by I think that sometimes turning my attention away from the thing that feels stuck is a better way of unsticking it than forging ahead. However, I do agree with your point about commitment and tackling it from a new angle. Food for thought hey? 🙂

    1. Hi Tricia…I think turning away for a small time is very effective and certainly this is also where rest and relaxation come Into it too. If I’m stuck with a painting, one of the best ways to unstick it, is too put it completely out of sight for a few days…or even weeks! It is a very interesting discussion to see how everyone handles there own journey. Thanks for commenting! Hope you are well? Mia

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