When we think to ourselves, “I have nothing unique to say,” we are thinking with our surface mind.
The surface mind is an idiot. It knows nothing. -Steven Pressfield

The other day I received a blog post called “Something Unique To Say” by Steven Pressfield, author of ‘The War of Art”. It was a booster shot. As I’ve been telling my friends I’ve been sending the post to, I know the truth of “Deep mind” as Steven called it – yet I forget it. The heart of the post is this:

The trick is that you and I don’t write or paint or shoot film with our surface mind.
I’ve quoted Jackson Browne on this subject before. He says he writes the lyrics of a song to find out what he thinks.
What he means by that is that when he sits down to compose, he doesn’t know yet what he thinks. It is in the process that what he thinks is revealed.

The process doesn’t happen in the surface mind. It takes place in the Deep Mind.

Simple truth. I don’t know what the outcome of any of my creative pieces will be – painting, sculpture, poetry etc until I finish them. I am constantly surprised by what I have created. For me, that’s a good thing.

The past few days I’ve been struggling with a painting that I thought I had a clear image of. That image has now gone. I have glimpses of color and texture but nothing is forming well on the painting’s surface. I am going to have to keep painting and moving things around until the image forms. Like Jackson Browne, I am going to have to keep painting to see what I am imagining/thinking. I’m trusting my “deep mind” to take me there.

And so it continues.

Posted in art, everything, mixed media, progress.


  1. “In the Deep Mind” … I’ve never heard it expressed like this before, but I completely relate to/agree with the concept. Your process sounds similar to mine (including the annoying forgetting what I know deep down!).

  2. Pressfield is an interesting character. I’m using him to give me the occasional slap to the back of my head. 🙂
    That, and a lot of self-talk.

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