Original Post October 6, 2010

How many people have you heard say, “Only if I’d…” or “When I have time…” regarding their pet project or creative dream? It is the death of creativity rearing its ugly head. Everytime I hear that I cringe a little bit on the inside. What are they (or you) waiting for?!

I’m a good artist but I am not the next Picasso. Most artists aren’t. Do you know how I “got good?” It wasn’t a talent I was immediately born with, but I have almost always wanted to be an artist. Forever ago in middle school my love affair began. And do you know what I’ve been doing ever since then? Practicing.

Every failed piece of work or work unsold gets me closer to the one that will sell. Perhaps my skill is developed or perhaps the project triggers an even better idea. Without these mistakes or small wanderings along the way, I would NOT be the artist I am today. I would not be the woman who took courage and entered a competition that eventually displayed her work in the Smithsonian. I would not be the woman who decided to take a leap and move overseas.

Everyone always wants to find the secret to success. Some people do get it easy. Some people have the right timing, the right connections, or the right job.  But for the rest of us, what is the secret to success? Work. And more work. And then more work.  This does NOT mean you should work every waking hour of your life on this activity. How can you find the inspiration for your love affair with words or paint or a camera if you don’t go out and live life, and do leisurely things?! I am blessed in that my “work” brings me personal and spiritual fulfillment. If you go after those secret silent dreams of yours, you will feel blessed too.

A book I am re-reading right now speaks about the fear that artists and creative types face during and after creation. The product, be it a painting or a poem, feels like an extension of our person. Resultantly, it feels personal when it is rejected or criticised in some way.

When you read a novel or watch a movie, do you think of the product as an extension of the author or director?  Maybe in reflection, but when you are the middle of your visceral experience with a work you aren’t judging the creator, you are judging the artwork!  I sometimes wonder what inspired such creativity but I do not actually think about the quality of the creators as human beings.  I have no intention of judging a person when I judge an artwork; I can separate the two when I am critic; why should it be any different for the creator receiving the criticism?

While it is important to take personal risk in your work and I encourage it to be personal, a rejection or dislike of your work is NOT a rejection of YOU.  If someone else doesn’t like your spouse or partner, does it make you want to separate or get a divorce?  I certainly hope not.  If you care as much as I know you do about your artwork or creative endeavor, why would you so readily abandon it?  You owe it to yourself and the world to harness your creative abilities.  Lets all make the world a better place.

“Without these mistakes or small wanderings along the way, I would NOT be the artist I am today.” (Click to Tweet)

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Looking for further reading on the art of inspiration and the fear artists face?  Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland (affiliate link) offer a frank reflection upon the nature of artmaking and the shared fears many artists feel.  It also offers real strategies and advice on managing those fears.

Has this post helped you or someone you know?  Leave a comment and share the article on Facebook or Twitter.  I appreciate your continual reading and general support! 🙂