Today’s post is about all of the rules I believe are important to creative practice. I suggest you speak the parts in bold out loud or read them every day to help you keep your focus and your energy in a place that sustains creative practice.
1) I deserve my creativity.
Do you believe in a higher power? Then why did God/Allah/Mother Earth give you this opportunity? Are you agnostic or atheist? Then why do you think your creativity should lie dormant? What service does that bring to others?
Does it make you happy to ignore it or pretend the desire isn’t there? Are you more fulfilled when you acknowledge your creative dreams? If you have them, they are yours and yours alone.
No one can take them from you except yourself: You hold back by ignoring your dreams and by pretending they aren’t important. If you are saying that, then you are saying that you are not important!
I have a hard time believing that.
Every single person who chooses to live their life in a way that has meaning to them offers greater hope, happiness, and productivity for society at large. Not to mention the positive juju it brings to their immediate loved ones. If you still don’t think you deserve your creativity, I say do it for your loved ones. They deserve someone in their lives who lives it fulfilled and happy.
2) My creativity is worthy of sharing with others.
Yes, it can feel vulnerable to share ideas, but often it is those ideas others need to hear most! It could trigger an amazing idea in someone else. Or, you could get feedback and develop an old idea into something new and more exciting than ever before. If an idea was born in the woods, but no one was there to hear or see it, did it really happen?
3) Accept failure as part of the creative process.
Not everything you write or paint is going to be worthy of publishing or exhibiting. Yet, it is through constant creative practice, with those “failures” or trialed ideas that you come to improve your skill as well as realize larger creative goals. The work will come if you let it. It means making, perhaps, a lot of crap in the in-between!
4) Being creative makes this world a better place.
I hope this is an obvious argument. When people are creative, we have new innovative ideas. Some are completely practical (the lightbulb) and others have helped us clean up our desk spaces (thank you post-it notes) and others have helped us see beauty in new, different ways (thank you Monet). All of this enhances the world we live in. And happy creatives are a more peaceful creature. Make art, not war.
5) Sharing ideas with others leads to more ideas.
I always noticed in my teacher experience and short-lived supervisory experience it was the teachers most open to sharing that were idea-prolific. Giving begets more giving.
6) Surround yourself with aspiring and active creatives.
Creativity begets more creativity. Being around others who are creative sets a bar for you to reach or maintain. It doesn’t have to be competitive either, passionate people can exude an energy that brings inspiration and enthusiasm to others. It multiplies! Are you unable to find that niche of people in your hometown? That is the beauty of our internet. The world is a smaller place. I find my creatives via all kinds of social media. Instagram is a new favorite.
7) Be open to constructive criticism.
Usually criticism that makes you defensive or uncomfortable probably has some truth to it. Ask a trusted friend or loved one to help you understand that truth. There is a difference between someone just being plain hurtful (anything but constructive) and offering feedback that extends you as a person.
8) I can because I do.
It is through the act of creation that things happen and products are built. People make food and prepare food to eat. That is a creative process. We get better at it because we continue to do it, including trialing new recipes, or substituting ingredients when you run out of something. That is a creative process! Our creative experience as an artist or writer (or…or… or…) should include trialing new techniques and materials and new ideas! Action is ever so sexy.
ARTIST STRONG ACTION: If you are feeling really stuck, just choose one or two of these as affirmations. Write them out on something that feels important and special. Perhaps even decorate it! Hang it somewhere or keep it close for that constant creative reminder. Because we all deserve it!