Friday, May 2, 2008

Ways to Sabotage Creativity

Red Dianthus
Not feeling as creative as you'd like? Not producing the kind of artistic work you know you are capable of?

We all get into bad creative habits. Here's a few ways we sabotage our own creative endeavors.

1. We over schedule. Do I have to explain this one? If you are always on a committee planning an event somewhere, you rob yourself of the time you need in your studio. Learn to gently, firmly say no. (When I figure out how to do this consistently, I'll let you know.)

2. We get intimidated by others. We look at another's work or read another author's book and think, ' I can NEVER do as well as they do.'


The joy and beauty of creativity in our lives is that what ever we produce will come through us and be forever stamped with our fingerprints. Two women using the same quilt pattern will not produce the same quilt. Each piece will have different colors and fabrics, expressing something unique about the person creating them. You have a style. Develop it.

3. We don't pay enough attention to details. Because we are often too over scheduled, we hurry through our art, instead of loving on the details. It's the small things that make a difference. Slow down. Enjoy the process of creation. Fiddle with fine tuning until whatever you are creating is as wonderful as you can make it. Then, by golly, release it into the wild to be sold or given or enjoyed by others.

4. We deny ourselves support. You need like minded creative souls around you. Hanging out with other artists from your field gains you experience and the wisdom that comes from experience. Expertise is something else you can learn. Around here, we often say, 'That person has forgotten more about ___________ than I will ever know.' Learn from each other. And do not limit yourself to just 'your kind.' I believe photographers can learn color and style from observing a gardener or quilter. A gardener can learn from a watercolor artist. An artist friend of mine taught me much that I apply to my writing today.

Besides, these artsy types speak your language and understand you in a way that all those 'normal' folks don't. Right?

5. We don't get real. Whatever you create should resonant within others or what's the point? If you stir your own emotions and experiences into the mix, then your writing or painting or sculpture will ring truer for the intended audience. I'm talking happiness as well as despair. It takes opening ourselves up, sometimes in painful, sometimes in delightful ways, to bring truth and honesty to our craft. Dig deep.

6. We quit. Again, do I need to say more? If you stop writing and submitting, you can not sell your novel to a publisher. If you stop painting, then you will never perfect that new brush technique. As long as you are working, learning, and doing, your artistic life has a chance to grow.
As Winston Churchill said, 'never, never, never, never, never give up.' Well, it was something like that and those words helped a nation win a war.

Imagine what could happen if you start saying them to yourself.

3 Other Creative Souls are Saying:

Lisa said...

"You need like minded creative souls around you."

That's exactly why I love to visit here, Deb. You do "speak my language". Thank you for your wonderful post.

melissa said...

Wonderful post. I will read it to my art class today (giving you full credit and links). Thanks.

DebMc said...

Lisa and Melissa,
THANKS! You've made my day.