Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Courage to Create

All creative processes require courage. It takes bravery to take that first step towards doing anything new. . . but creative processes generate even more fear than other first steps because they are, in a way, a birthing process. All parents want their children to be popular and accepted.

Altered Art Doll
Whenever you create something new -- or even express the desire to do so -- there will be someone in your life that will discourage you. "Don't do that! You'll fail! You'll be embarrassed! No one will like it!" Maybe that someone will be insider your own head. There are many reasons that people will try to discourage you. Sometimes it is out of a genuine fear that you will be hurt. Sometimes it is because they are not fulfilling their own creative destiny and seeing you about to take a step towards your own future makes them uncomfortable to the point that they will try to prevent you from reaching your goals at any cost.

No matter whether the voice of discouragement is in your own head, or comes from someone else, the first step to getting past those fears is to understand that a) every act of creation has VALUE and b) that value is to you -- the creator. If other people are happy or approve of your creation, that is the icing on the cake, but if it is your sole motivation for acting, the first time you don't get that approval you will stall your creative process.

Try to remember the first time you creative something. Maybe it was the old shoes with macaroni glued all over them in Kindergarten. Perhaps it was a paint by numbers picture, or writing a poem in third grade, or arranging the furniture in your first apartment. Do you remember what that felt like? The sense of accomplishment, the relief, maybe the joy?

Creativity comes from within and you must trust yourself and your instinct to create. That is where fear comes in. . .and when the voice of discouragement starts making some real sense.

Getting Past Your Fear:

Many people never get started in their creative process because just thinking abut it is overwhelming. Here are some basic steps to help you get started.

1. Choose Your Weapon

You may have several projects you want to try, but you can only do one at a time. Specifically define ONE. For example:

  • write one haiku
  • paint a pattern
  • create a mosaic pot
  • create a family tree for my father's family

2. Define The Steps

Once you have defined your goal, (and it is BEST to write this down on paper), define the steps necessary to do this one thing. Here is a list I made for writing haiku.

a) pull out my book of poetry rules

b) pull out pen and paper

c) put a classical music CD on the stereo

d) block out an hour in my schedule

Once I have defined the steps, it seems much more manageable than my bigger goal of writing a haiku.

3. Find Your Creativity Zone

Everyone has their own creative quirks. Some people are most creative when they are in complete silence and all alone. Others need loud music and lots of activity. Personally, I am most creative when alone and surrounded by music. When I write, I prefer classical music with no lyrics. (The words tend to distract me from my own writing.) When I paint, I like upbeat, faster music, generally.

Pay attention to your own creative needs. I am someone that needs a lot of visual stimulation. My house and studio have a lot of "knick-knacks" and color. Some artists find this distracting and need to have a place without outside stimulus. I am more of an indoor person - but perhaps you are inspired by nature. It would be very difficult for you to do your best work in a cramped workroom without windows.

Begin to note when you are feeling your most creative? Don't fight against your body clock! I am a night owl -- I paint and do visual media best from 10 PM to 1 AM. . .but, I do my best writing from 3 - 6 PM. Each of us has peak times that we do things best.

4. Inspiration

There is a misconception that all creativity springs from inside the artist as something wholly new and original. The truth is that 99.9% of creative people spend the majority of their time reading, watching, observing and filtering information to be used later. I've been inspired by a color scheme I saw in the titles of a movie, I've heard "the click" at the grocery store, the hair stylist, just about anywhere I've ever been.

There is a fine but DEFINITE line between inspiration and copying. I try not to look for inspiration in the same media I am working in. However, many artists have interpreted the same subject in their own way. Think about how many pictures have been painted of Jesus, for example. Do not ever start with someone else's work as the departure point for your own unless you have written permission to do this.

Because I am very visual, I love magazines. I especially like home decor and family magazines because they have a broad spectrum of articles with an emphasis on visual design. I don't go anywhere without scissors, glue and magazines. I keep a journal and a several scrapbooks. If I am starting a new project, I start a new book for pictures and quotes that have the feel of what I want to accomplish. I rarely keep the books open when I'm actually working because I don't want to be tempted to copy. The scrapbooks are my way of working through my thoughts and ideas. I sketch, I paint, I write and draw in and around the things I put together.

Start to pay attention to things that inspire you. Perhaps there is a kind of music (like Reggae, for example) that rev your engines and put you in the mood to create. If you learn these things about yourself, you make it easier to get working.

5. Go For It!

There is one guarantee about any creative endeavor. If you don't try, you will never succeed. It is okay to do several drafts. Give yourself permission to not get it right on the first try. Learn from your efforts and you have succeed!

1 comment:

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