Creativity is a radical act.
In a world where caring for oneself deeply is the most subversive thing we can do, taking care of the spark of the creative lands somewhere even more necessary, more urgent. For those of us that walk through the world with bright ideas we haven’t had a chance to make priority, this is our time.
This year, we saw how the world turned to art when everything shut down. Art is essential for the enjoyment of life. It’s how we connect big and basic ideas and how we connect to one another. While the individual practice of art-making can be a lonely road with the majority of creative practice done alone, the output is appreciated publicly.
Art gives us permission to explore the undercurrents of societal thought without words, without argument and without right interpretation. Art gives us a place to understand that which cannot be said through letters. The act of making art gives us a place to meter our inner pulse and to place a pulse on what is happening around us as well. We explore both our inner landscape and the terrain of the world around us when we follow the call to be creative. Every time we participate in creativity, we participate in what brings a sense of reverence to the uniquely human experience. We document and preserve the world around us while simultaneously creating a revelatory, tangible piece of history from our lived experience.
Art is essential, and art is real work, but it can also be a joy without any obligation.
It’s incredibly easy to let creative practice fall by the wayside and into the margins, and ignore the call to be creative. The work that we do within our creative path relies on a skewed sense of balance, and now, more than ever, our voice, (yes – your voice, too) needs to be heard. We tend to prioritize income producing endeavors at the expense of the artist within us all, and glorify the myth of the starving artist. If one seeks to produce income from art, there has been no better time in human history to realize that goal. Between having direct access to consumers through social media and a worldwide network of people hungry to participate in creativity as a spectator, we are uniquely positioned to bring forth both traditional and daring efforts and be compensated for what is produced.
It’s time to honor your wisdom and your well-being by giving yourself space to explore your inner world through your creative practice. Perfect is the enemy of good when it comes to making art, we can make what we make without being attached to value of the end result. The value of art-making is beyond the practical application of pen or brush to paper. It is immaterial, therapeutic and can be a catalyst for a bigger, broader set of ideas that invariably enrich the lives of those around us.
Creative types struggle with a different sort of finding balance.
Navigating the creative path can go beyond minding the muse and waiting for inspiration to strike, and you have the power to propel your practice beyond the whims of the muse. By setting yourself up to work in a predictible way, setting foundations and protecting the time that you give yourself to explore your artistic drive, you ultimately allow yourself to live a fuller life. When you commit to a fuller life, you give yourself permission to show up as a more authentic version of yourself. Others see this, and they’ll begin their own projects or recommit to their own creative practice, and we are all enriched.
Make this a year where you refine your vision.
Even if you struggle with imposter syndrome or that you’re not good enough at your chosen practice, the only way to improve is to do the thing. Now is the time to bring radical clarity and confidence to the radical act of creativity, lay foundation for expanded artistic vision, and to align action, intention and resources to honor the distinctly internal and inherently personal drive to create the life that you desire, starting with YOU first. All artists struggle with the sensation of ‘not good enough,’ but its also a place where there is immense opportunity to respect the creative spirit by allowing yourself to make without judging your own work.
We have to remind ourselves that art is the only work product that is inherently judged by the consistently unqualified. In fields like accounting or medicine or mathematics, the only judgement of whether or not one is a ‘good enough’ accountant comes from within the field. Remember, that even though every one has an opinion around art, it doesn’t mean their opinion is qualified to affect your practice or your work output.
Make this the year that you ignite your creative dreams.
You will work through your inner blocks by consistently making art. This will serve to bring clarity to your life, to build and innovate on your foundations and to inhabit a creative mindset that will ignite your will to expand into a sustainable, profitable and nourishing wellspring of effort, deeply rooted in caring first for yourself. The best part?
You’ll commit to yourself in a new way.
You will prioritize creating in your life, and these foundational exercises will occupy the parts of yourself that feel like you should be doing more. Instead, just do it. Commit to a small amount of time on a daily basis to at least pick up the brush or pen, to get out the knitting needles or start that project you’ve always wanted to do.
Life is too short to let the muse pass you by, and, as it has been said, the muse will always find you working.
This year is the year that you allow yourself to experience the profound changes that come with adding the creative practice as a form of self-care.
If you are looking for a sign or a reason to start doing ‘that thing’ again (whatever that thing might be) consider this that sign, and get started. You’ll never regret it.
Need inspiration to use creativity as radical self care? Check out my online course.