This month, one of my 17 year old daughters is in Philadelphia at the Moore College of Art & Design, getting a taste of what art school is like. She's been there for a week now, and I know because she talks with my wife about it, that it's hard. And I remember freshman art and design core myself. Taking six hours of art classes four or five days a week then spending equal time or more outside of class working on assignments sounds wonderful. Then you have to do it, and man oh man is it hard. Keeping a mind that's full of random thoughts bouncing around like pinballs focused for hours on drawing or painting or developing an idea that squirms around and won't hold still, all the while hearing harsh whispers inside telling you that what you're producing is lousy. Looking around furtively at your colleagues and spotting one whose work is far superior to yours, and fighting the delicious temptation of discouragement. Then thinking of how many talented people are out there competing for visibility and the recognition that makes a livelihood as an artist or designer possible. Pretty soon depression and lethargy are inevitable.
It's still like that for me every day. I have to say "Shut up. Shut up shut up shut the hell up!!! Stop thinking, get out of the way and just do the work." Self absorption is the inner chatter that fills us with doubt, not the exploration and manifestation of one's real inner vision. I hope my daughter is learning that. I'm working on it right along with her myself.