Summary of “The Third Self”

Two hundred years before social media, the great French artist Eugène Delacroix lamented the necessary torment of avoiding social distractions in creative work; a century and a half later, Agnes Martin admonished aspiring artists to exercise discernment in the interruptions they allow, or else corrupt the mental, emotional, and spiritual privacy where inspiration arises.
Just as self-criticism is the most merciless kind of criticism and self-compassion the most elusive kind of compassion, self-distraction is the most hazardous kind of distraction, and the most difficult to protect creative work against.
Let all of them work, as ordinarily they do, in confident familiarity with whatever the work requires, and no more.
In creative work – creative work of all kinds – those who are the world’s working artists are not trying to help the world go around, but forward.
Part of this something-elseness, Oliver argues, is the uncommon integration of the creative self – the artist’s work cannot be separated from the artist’s whole life, nor can its wholeness be broken down into the mechanical bits-and-pieces of specific actions and habits.
Intellectual work sometimes, spiritual work certainly, artistic work always – these are forces that fall within its grasp, forces that must travel beyond the realm of the hour and the restraint of the habit.
The working, concentrating artist is an adult who refuses interruption from himself, who remains absorbed and energized in and by the work – who is thus responsible to the work Serious interruptions to work are never the inopportune, cheerful, even loving interruptions which come to us from another.
The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.

The orginal article.