Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rebooting Creativity: Finding Your Way Back Home

Are You Feeling You've Lost Your Creative Direction? Has Life Gotten in Your Way? Stop Making Excuses and Find Your Way Home. Create.


Life gets in the way. It happens to most of us. There are all kind of distractions (and some necessities) that can prevent us from creating art. No matter what the excuse-- it's just that... an excuse. The life choices we make don't have to be a roadblock to creativity.

Here are some thoughts to get you out of that slump and help get those creative juices flowing:

1) No regrets.
Don't think too much. Many of us create unneeded baggage over what we haven't done, or didn't do; and allow that to prevent us from doing what we love. The past is gone... get over it. Do everything you can now with the time you have-- even if it's only for a few minutes.  Don't regret what you can't change and change what you can.
2) See everything as an opportunity, not a roadblock.
That job you hate but desperately need to pay the bills... can be a source of inspiration if you look for it. Look around you, network with coworkers, share your passion-- you never know what you might find.
The project you took for someone else to make a little cash or get your foot in the door... don't waste that opportunity. Learn, connect, try new things... open your mind.
3) Every path leads somewhere.
Is your art or career headed in a direction, far from where you wanted to go? Can you see where it's leading? Is it a dead end?
Sometimes we find ourselves getting too far off track or even traveling completely away from our original destination. We have to be willing to adapt, change, or reverse directions sometimes.
Always keep sight of your goals. Don't go on for so long, convincing yourself that you have to do something-- that in reality is preventing you from realizing your full creativity.  At the same time, try to be open and experience the journey as it happens. Some paths unexpectedly lead to rewarding destinations. Just make sure you keep moving on.
4) Creativity is not the same as productivity.
No matter what form of art you create, it takes time, skill and connections to make it happen. A project could take you days, weeks, years or even a lifetime to complete. It may take time before you actually produce something worthwhile. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that quantity is as important, or more important than the quality of your work.
Lots of projects under your belt may make you feel productive-- but are you proud of them as well? Do they represent who you are as an artist?  Are you learning, growing and really stretching your creative muscles?
5) Stop making excuses.
We're all guilty of this. After awhile it becomes more of a habit. The only honest excuse for not creating art-- is not wanting to create art. There will never be enough time, money or resources-- these are not good excuses.
Think about this-- The excuses you give yourself are always worse than the ones you give to others.
6) Set goals.
Set goals for yourself. Give yourself some benchmarks for achievement. Goals give you a direction and should help motive your progress. Don't allow the failure to meet those goals to discourage you. Reassess and set new ones.
7) Do something.
Do something. Anything. Even for five minutes.
If you're a writer or painter -- put something down on paper, don't just think about it in your head. Scribbled notes or sketches can be great triggers and motivators even if they're incomplete.
If you're a performing artist, sing or dance-- whatever you do. Sing in the car or the shower, if nothing else. Dance a quick step in the empty hall at work or in your living room.
The longer you go without writing, or dancing, or ... creating-- the harder it is to get started again. You'll be glad you did. Even for an audience of one (you).
8) Success comes from failure.
 Lots of cliches could go here and the topic of failure could be pretty broad. I want to stick to your own personal measure of failure.
There is no better way to learn and grow than to try and fail at something. Failure can open up new doors and ideas, leading you to successes you never dreamed about.  Don't shy away from trying something that you might not get right the first time around.
Art is a process. It develops with time and experience and needs to be constantly molded and reshaped. 
Success the first time around? Great! Did you learn anything? And who is measuring the success? You or someone else?
I believe truly creative, artistic people are never completely satisfied with their work but learn when to stop and let it live. It can always be better, clearer, brighter, deeper... but sometimes-- what it is, is just right.
9) Don't give into fear.
Some artists fear failure. Others fear success. Don't let your fears rule your passion. Create and live your passion!
The bottom line is:
If you're a writer- write!
If you're a sculpter- sculpt!
If you're a dancer- dance!

The only one stopping you is you.

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