A lot of people out there talk about HOW to be creative, and a lot of them will tell you that you have to have TIME to be creative. Or rather, they make excuses about why they AREN’T good enough to be creative. I thought I would share a little bit about MY creativity and it’s process.
First of all, I have to tell you my thoughts on what defines a successful “artist”. I have recently come to start understanding that for me to be able to call myself and artist, I do not have to be making a LIVING at it. In fact, to be clear, I absolutely am NOT making a living at it. Sure, I sell my work here and there, but I am by no means living off of that money. Any income I’ve made has really only ever bought MORE art supplies… but that’s OK!! To be an artist, and to be living off of my art are two separate things. I do not believe they are connected in such a way that one cannot live without the other. I believe that artistic success can only be defined by the individual creating.
So what IS my definition of an artist? I believe that there is an artist in ALL of us. It’s in our nature as humans to be creative. Somewhere a long our journey into adulthood, we start to believe that aren’t ABLE to be artists. Because we can’t draw a horse and have it LOOK like the horse in the photograph we are trying to copy. Because someone told us we wouldn’t be able to make a living being creative. Because we mistakenly think that to be an artist, one has to knock out masterpieces EVERY time we make something. We believe that because someone ELSE says that our art isn’t up to par, we can’t stake our claim in our creativity. Instead, I believe that what makes a person an artist is whether they are able to appreciate the PROCESS that they take on their way to creating. It’s not so much the END result as it is the process of getting there. It’s not so much in the FINISHING as it is in the flow of creativity that the ACT of creating brings forth.
So the truth is, that “the masters” have MANY MANY MANY pieces that never saw the light of day. They started things and didn’t finish. They painted over paintings they didn’t like. They PRACTICED over and over and again. Some of them painted things in ways that didn’t LOOK like they do in real life… I believe it’s because they KNEW. They knew that so much of their art is the PROCESS. Creativity in it’s RAW form is all about the process.
A child understands this. You can see it in the joy that shines out a little one’s eyes as they see the result that placing a crayon to a page and scribbling with wild abandon gives them. You can see their understanding in the thrill they get from paint squished between their fingers… They never question if they have the “right” tools… they don’t ask for better paper. They understand that it’s about the PROCESS… They marvel in the muddy brown that all their colors together create…
So I encourage you. Find your inner child. Allow them to find your inner artist. You do not NEED anything more. You do not NEED for “them” to tell you are good enough. YOU are the artist you need to be… PRACTICE. Allow yourself to claim your creativity. Allow yourself to OWN it. It’s yours. Whether you find it in a scrapbook page, in vintage finds made into something new, in yarn, in writing, in planting and growing, in capturing a picture… YOU CAN DO IT. I know you can.
It’s not about HAVING time… because there is NEVER time. Never, until you MAKE time. And this part is very important. So many times, I hear people tell me they WISH they had time to be creative like I do… but I’m TELLING you… you must MAKE time…
There is NEVER time for ANYTHING unless you make time. If it’s important to you to grow this part of yourself, you WILL make time. I do not have hours of blocks of time in a day to create and be creative. A lot of times, I have to grab bits and pieces in a day… while food is cooking, I paint a leg. Quick before work, I post a photo. I carry my camera with me in my purse. I pack every moment I can into the places I can fit them. Some days, I will not be creative. For example. As I type this, I have not “created” anything since the 26th of last month. I probably won’t have a “free” day for a while… but I don’t work until 4:00 tomorrow. I COULD squeeze something in before work… A lot of times, I create at the expense of something else. At this moment, I have a sink full of dishes. I have floors that haven’t been swept in DAYS… (and that’s sugar coating it) A lot of nights I listen to the TV rather than watch it.
There are things that you have to choose to let go of… for me, that’s often a tidy house. I create on top of messes if I have a moment, and choose to create instead of catch up. We can’t do it all. Our day to day lives tell others what we’ve chosen to be important to us.
But that’s just it. It’s a choice. So what are YOU choosing?
It’s OK to choose to catch up. It’s OK to choose career. It’s OK to choose family. It’s OK… but please understand… it’s a CHOICE. All of it. And how you CHOOSE is what decides. TIME doesn’t decide for you. If you CHOOSE to have it there, creativity is there. You can include your children in it. You can include family time in it. I’ve only just figured all this out… it probably hit me while I was in the shower… seems a lot of my big thoughts hit me there. I’m not even confident this makes much of any sense… but I have had it weighing on my heart for over a month now.
So what are YOU choosing?