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The Courage to Create: Living an Artistic Life

Updated: Jan 2

I've recently found more time to dedicate myself to creativity and it's such a joyful process that always leaves me wondering why I don't do it more often? I love it so much that I have decided CREATIVITY will be my 2024 word and intention. Being creative in everyday life makes the journey way more fun and interesting and helps me think outside the box and gain inspiration from my environment. My creative clients come to me with creative struggles from time to time and sometimes even neglect their creativity for many years which can lead to feelings of burn out.

Creativity is not just an innate talent but a disciplined habit that requires consistent practice, routine, and the ability to overcome obstacles in order to thrive in various aspects of life. It often feels like creativity is a life force or spiritual practice that needs the opportunity to move through the creative individual and when it's fully allowed expression it gives us the courage to create. In todays blog I want to discuss some of the challenges creatives face and then ways you can build creativity like a muscle, ritual or habit.

“Don’t wait for permission to do something.” ~Ava DuVernay, Director

In the realms of positive psychology, it states that creativity involves producing ideas or behaviours that are original. However, originality is not enough: whatever is created, whether an idea or a product, must also be useful or adaptable. Keeping originality and adaptability in mind, a creative individual generates ideas or behaviour that is novel and contributes positively to their own lives or the lives of others. Creativity sits under the virtue of wisdom and I believe that everyone is born creative but depending on how we are nurtured in our environment the creativity can be developed or conditioned to be less prominent. In ancient Celtic mythology, creativity is the feminine life force that flows through us and connects us harmoniously with nature; it is both wild and beautiful. Yet this creative life force has been oppressed for centuries and women especially may struggle to find the agency to create. With modern technologies it seems creativity has become a rare act and it must be protected, for it is only creativity that will help us rise above the challenges we face as a species on earth.

The common challenges creatives face and ways to help us overcome them, be inspired and have the courage to create.

Perfectionism: Creative individuals often have high standards for their work, which can lead to perfectionism. The desire for perfection may result in creative blocks or the fear of starting a project. Despite all the creative ideas inside perfectionists they might feel too afraid to get started. When creating anything we new we need to give ourselves permission to fail from the start. Nothing new is ever created without first failing. Mistakes and failure are a natural part of the creative process and we need to embrace them to learn and grow.

“My hope is that we continue to nurture the places that we love, but that we also look outside our immediate worlds.” ~Annie Leibovitz, Photographer

Self-doubt: Perfectionism and self doubt are closely related. Creative people may experience self-doubt about their abilities, leading to a lack of confidence in their work. This can hinder the creative process and make it difficult to share their creations with others. The best way to overcome self doubt is with a healthy dose of self compassion and support. Don't try to fight your fears and doubt but rather use a loving response and self care, try not to compare yourself to others and think about all the past things you have created successfully. Lastly it helps to surround yourself with supportive people.

“As a woman in architecture, you’re always an outsider. It’s okay, I like being on the edge.” ~Zaha Hadid, Architect

Creative Blocks: Creative blocks, where individuals struggle to generate new ideas or make progress on a project, are common. This can be frustrating and lead to feelings of stagnation. When you start feeling frustrated this can also then lead to a lack of new ideas and perpetuate the stuckness. It is important to push through creative blocks early on by taking a break, changing up your environment, seeking collaboration, doing something mindless or experimenting with different techniques and limiting your choices.

“Play is the state of mind that we can use in our creative process to our advantage.” ~Jessica Walsh, Graphic Designer, Art Director, Illustrator

Balancing creativity with practicality: Creative people may find it challenging to strike a balance between pursuing their artistic passions and meeting practical demands such as financial stability and daily responsibilities. Sometimes the creative process works slower than market demands and making a living from creativity can get in the way of the pure joy that comes from simply creating. If this impacts you try creating something without a need to sell it, take the pressure off and just get back to the basics of enjoying the creative process.

“What is fascinating about illustration is that there are no limits. You are only limited by your imagination.” ~Malika Favre, Illustrator, Graphic Artist

Staying Focussed: Creative minds can be easily distracted by new ideas or projects, making it challenging to stay focused on completing one task before moving on to the next. When your attention is moving from one things to the next it can be challenging to maintain energy and inspiration to see a project fully through it's life cycle. The role of discipline and structure in the creative process is important. Setting clear goals and maintaining a disciplined approach can lead to more consistent creative output can help overcome distractions along with mindfulness and attention training. Consistent practice and dedication are key to achieving mastery in any creative pursuit. Success in the creative field often comes from persistent effort over time, so it can be helpful to stay with one thing and finish it before moving on.

“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” ~Toni Morrison, Novelist

Finding your Authentic Voice: Establishing a unique and authentic voice in a crowded creative space can be a struggle. Many artists grapple with finding their distinctive style or perspective. This often comes with experience and a long time exploring and experimenting. emphasising the importance of embracing influences, experimenting, and taking creative risks. Developing a personal vocabulary that includes recurring themes and motifs, fostering a unique artistic signature is one you can develop your authenticity. Understanding one's motivations, reflecting on past work, and trusting instincts are key components in this journey. Authentic voice is an evolving process that may involve both successes and failures, revolving around self-discovery, continuous exploration, and a willingness to adapt and evolve as an artist.

“I never saw myself as a pioneer. I just was driven to tell stories in a medium that I love.” ~Brenda Chapman, Animator

Becoming inspired: The best inspiration comes from connection with your own diverse passions, values and interests. Exploration of natural landscapes, biodiversity, and environmental issues can spark creativity. The ever-evolving world of technology, futuristic concepts, and breakthrough innovations can fuel creative ideas. Delving into the complexities of human emotions, psychology, and relationships can provide a rich source of inspiration for writers, artists, and filmmakers. Scientific concepts, discoveries, and the mysteries of the universe can ignite curiosity and creativity. Science fiction, in particular, is a genre that often appeals to creative individuals. Exploring different cultures, historical periods, and diverse traditions can offer a wealth of material for creative projects, from storytelling to visual arts. Examining deep philosophical questions about existence, morality, and the nature of reality can stimulate creative thinking and artistic expression. Practices like mindfulness, meditation, and holistic wellness can inspire creativity by fostering self-awareness and a deeper connection with one's thoughts and emotions. Addressing social challenges and advocating for change can be a powerful motivator for creative endeavors. Artistic expressions can be a way to raise awareness and inspire action. Experiencing different cultures, landscapes, and lifestyles through travel can provide a broad spectrum of inspiration for creative projects. Exploring the convergence of art and science, where creativity meets technical innovation, can lead to groundbreaking ideas and projects.

“Every time I have had a problem, I have confronted it with the ax of art.” ~Yayoi Kusama, Painter, Contemporary Artist

The creative process is a multifaceted journey that involves navigating challenges and embracing strategies to foster innovation and authenticity. By recognising creativity as a habit to be cultivated, individuals can establish routines, overcome self-doubt, and unlock their creative potential. Strategies for pushing through creative blocks involve changing environments, seeking collaboration, and adopting mindfulness practices. Additionally, the journey to finding an authentic voice entails embracing influences, experimenting, and trusting instincts while maintaining patience and persistence. As creatives navigate the dynamic landscape of their artistic endeavors, they can draw inspiration from diverse topics, address common challenges, and ultimately contribute to a rich and evolving creative tapestry. The creative process is a continual exploration, a journey of self-discovery that invites artists to express their unique perspectives and contribute meaningfully to the ever-changing world of creativity. Find the courage to create will happen naturally if you follow these steps so let yourself get started today!

Want to workshop your creativity with me in 2024? I have two new group offerings that can help! Explore your Creative Potential in the first workshop instalment online on Feb 12th, 2024 as part of the Coaching Cafe Series. On March 4th, 2024 I have the Nature-based Mindfulness Course: Connection to place which explores creativity and ancestry and other ways to use creativity to connect to nature for wellbeing.

The Courage to Create


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