There is a common misconception that as creatives, we should wait for inspiration to hit.
Wait for the lightning bolt to strike us right between the eyes. Wait until we are overwhelmed with the emotion that we must express. Well, we could be waiting a long time. "I haven't painted in a while, I have to be in the mood for it". "I haven't been writing lately because I'm waiting until I have something to write about". Don't these sound like excuses to you? I know that they are excuses because I used them myself for nine years. I had a whole catalogue of excuses at the tip of my tongue, ready to recite to the next person who would enquire as to whether I was putting my degree in Fine Art to good use. "Not enough space, not enough time, I must wait until my children are older". And then I would swiftly change the subject to a topic that I was more comfortable discussing.
The truth is, the reason I hated when people would bring up my creative background is because the guilt and shame would punch me right in the gut as I mindlessly rattled off my bullshit excuses, even if I had half convinced myself they were true. If I had been honest with the well intentioned inquirer, and with myself, I would have answered something more along the lines of "After college I let mundane life crap get in the way of my creativity. I didn't make the time and so I fell out of the practice of painting regularly. The longer I left it the more blocked I felt. Instead of tackling this block head on, I let it fester until it developed into fear. And I would rather accuse myself of all sorts of things, before admitting that I was afraid". A little long winded but you get the idea!
Fear is the creativity killer.
And the way to tackle the fear that hampers Creative Living?
Just Do It. Seriously, do it every god damn day. Last year I completed #the100dayproject on Instagram and it is one of the best things I have ever done for my art! You choose your topic/discipline and the only rule is to do it EVERY day. A couple of weeks ago I started a new project myself called the #30DaysofFreescapes. These are experimental seascapes that are helping my painting work to develop and evolve (I'll write more about my findings and discoveries and conclusions once I've finished the project).
Is there a project or challenge that you can join in with (or create your own!) that will get you creating every day in a pressure-free environment? I welcome you to come and join me on my #30DaysofFreescapes journey over on facebook. The aim here isn't to create a masterpiece or a novel or a 10 tier wedding cake. The aim is purely to let it f l o w . The more you create, the more inspiration will come to you. Don't take yourself too seriously, it is meant to be enjoyed - just like a child learns through play! It could be a few lines on a piece of paper, a couple of words that you like, a few splodges of paint - it really doesn't matter what it is or if it's never fit to see the light of day. Most of it will be terrible to begin with (if you're like me!), but please don't let that deter you. Keep doing it until soon something pretty decent comes out of it, then maybe something BRILLIANT.
Study all of your attempts, what is it about them that you love or hate? What element of that amazing sketch can you use in your next piece? What did you learn from that embarrassingly lame piece of prose you wrote recently? Did it spark off any ideas for how to do it better in the future? It certainly showed you what you didn't like! The point of it all is to learn what works and what doesn't work for you, so you can make informed decisions for future pieces.
When you begin to live creatively you'll find that you can't live any other way. Whether it's a hobby or your source of income, it's futile unless you clear out the block. And really, the only way to do that is to make it a part of your every day life, until it is as natural as breathing. Your activities will become more creative. Your thoughts will become more creative. If you want to be an artist, you have to start living the life of an artist.
Simple but true!