Creativity is a vital aspect of human life. It is or should be as normal to us as breathing and eating. Here are seven steps that will help creatives along on the path to increased skill development and productivity.
You, like every other human being, were born to create. You can choose what you want to create, directing your focus and energy, but the power to create is an inborn human gift.
You’re like a ship on the sea. The wind carries you along, but you can turn the rudder, deciding which way to go with the energy you’ve been given.
Do not doubt your ability to successfully be creative.
Here’s a book for creatives who need help with step 1
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
This is a well known, much loved classic self-help book for creatives who need to free themselves from fear and doubt. Even the most naturally talented artist will at times doubt their path and output in the creative lifestyle. It is something we need to deal with, and this book has helped thousands of artists or wannabe artists to come out of their shells and shine like they were always meant to.
There are multiple suggestions, like morning pages and artist dates, to help stimulate creativity while working through the chapters of this book. Don’t neglect the activities at the end of each chapter. They provide hands-on experiences to examine and analyze our abilities to create.
I’ve worked through this book twice and have also worked through some of the other books this author wrote. This is a wonderful, wonderful opportunity, in case you want an encounter with higher creativity.
Here’s a representation of a bird. It isn’t an exact copy of a bird. The imperfections make a painting beautiful. It is what it is.
A talented person is usually a person who believed in his ability enough to practice it a lot. With practice comes improvement in skills. If you want to be creative you must practice being creative. By building skills with lots of practice you too can progress from being an amateur to being a talented, skilled artist.
At first your attempts may seem stilted and rough, but the more you practice, the better you’ll become at doing whatever it is you want to do.
Seriously, how many musicians knew instinctively how to play an instrument in early childhood? Probably – none. They all started somewhere, learning one note at a time, gradually gaining mastery and skill. That’s what you need to do if you’re going to be creative.
If you want to draw or paint – keep a sketchbook and add to it as frequently as possible, hopefully at least once a day. Don’t be afraid to share the results. The goal is productivity and practice, not immediate perfection. Your efforts are worthwhile, and you’ll enjoy trying to exceed yourself in doing better all the time. That’s the goal – compete against yourself, not against others.
In case you want a copy of that movie on DVD to give as a gift:
I’ve seen this documentary many times and I bought the book which in my opinion wasn’t nearly as helpful as the documentary. I posted the entire film above. (It is on the Filmrise channel at YouTube.) It is an hour long but well worth watching again and again. It is so very inspiring! I’m posting a link to this amazing George Leonard documentary in case you want your own copy on DVD, or want to give it as a gift. This documentary has the most uplifting message about mastery of skills. Please believe me… this is worth watching!
This step is also called ‘brainstorming’. You’ll need to grab your writer’s notebook or artist’s sketchbook and collect your ideas, put them together, pull them apart, and let them percolate.
Ideas are fleeting – do not trust them to memory!
Make a huge collection of ideas. You won’t want to limit yourself to only a few. Have fun with idea generation.
The more ideas you come up with, the easier it will get. Your first ideas may seem unworkable, but the more you brainstorm, the better you get at it. Eventually, one of them will reach out and grab your heart.
Pre-planning is everything!
You need a map to know where you want to go.
You need a goal to know what you’re aiming for.
Before you start your masterpiece, know exactly what you expect it to become, so you can nurture it into the work of art you’ve chosen to create. If you don’t get too impatient to dive right in, you may find that planning is one of the most stimulating and enjoyable parts of creative expression.
I find it very helpful to create a collection of sketchbook drawings for any major idea I want to work on. By repeating my efforts to design the right composition to express the project, I eventually create something that’s perfect for what I’m trying to do.
How to Plan Your Artwork – this talented comic artist has a lot to say about pre-planning
Eventually idea generation and design have to take a backseat to the actual creation process you’ll go through to bring your idea to fruition. You will settle into a routine of doing whatever needs to be done to make it happen.
To get through the implementation of your design you’ll need to focus your determination and motivation, organize your time, your thoughts, your materials and your equipment. Through determined self-effort you become the dynamic impetus that brings a dream into reality.
Rather than setting a schedule, consider creating a habit. For example, you could make a habit of going into your work studio space right after breakfast every morning. This is how you bring forth your creative masterpiece as only you can.
The Hidden Code for Transforming Dreams Into Reality
For most of us, perfection doesn’t come instantaneously. Many disciplines require revision. Writers are familiar with repeated edits, and artists should be too. Artists need to carefully place their finishing touches and might even need to start over again from the beginning.
If something doesn’t work perfectly, re-vision it and keep trying. You may not reach perfection but you can make your masterpiece become exactly what it was meant to be. Stand back, re-focus, re-think, and set out again with fresh perspective and renewed purpose.
When you’re done – you’ll know it. The time has come to send your baby out into the world. Toast it, have a party, and move on. You’ve completed the creative cycle giving full recognition to the creative spirit within you.
What better way is there to celebrate the coming-of-age of your idea than to start over again at the beginning?
Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon
Austin Kleon books are so inspiring! I especially like this one because he tells us to show our work to others. I know from personal experience that this step is very difficult for some of us. I was a wannabe artist for years, hiding the results of my sketching and painting, until finally I told myself, “Lady, if you’re going to be an artist it doesn’t even make sense not to show your work.” It was even harder with writing projects! But I eventually got it.
A light isn’t meant to be hidden under a barrel. Also, I don’t need to have the skill of Rembrandt to say I’m an artist and start living and behaving like one. Austin Kleon’s graphics in this book look terribly amateur, in a way. He’s not trying to be a super-skilled classical artist like Pierre-Auguste Renoir, but rather he shows his own very unique expression of personal artistry mixed with inspirational advice for creatives. His brave act of putting his unusual brand of illustration into a book is encouraging.
It all works out perfectly and everything about this book appealed to my need to have courage for stepping out as a real artist and not just a wannabe. He assures us we don’t need to be a genius to do this and that it is okay to be a beginner and still share your work daily.
Thanks for joining me on this art-thought journey into finding a workable way to organize and make sense of creative life.