June 27

Some people flirt with the idea of pursuing their dream of making art or launching a business but settle for doing something close enough to the edges to still associate with their dream without the requisite risk. Author Julia Cameron calls them “shadow artists.” They are close to where the art is being made but aren’t willing to take the necessary risks to actually make it themselves. For example, people who want to write books but instead choose to edit or people who want to be musicians who become road managers. She writes, “Artists love other artists. Shadow artists are gravitating to their rightful tribe but cannot yet claim their birthright. Very often audacity, not talent, makes one person an artist and another a shadow artist—hiding in the shadows, afraid to step out and expose the dream to the light, fearful that it will disintegrate to the touch.”

I would argue that this term applies not only to artists in the classi- cal sense but also to anyone who chooses a safer version of their dream rather than risk failure. It might be the person with the entrepreneurial idea who instead chooses to work for someone else’s venture because it’s easier and less risky.

Don’t settle for something less than what you’re capable of. Be auda- cious enough to try.

Make your art. Don’t settle for being a shadow artist.


is there an area where you are settling for the shadow version of your craft rather than the real thing?

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