You’re right Julie and I think it is that “creativity nagging” that got most of us doing this in the first place. For whatever reason we feel that consistent pull and a restlessness to create something. That nagging feeling that there is more to life than simply consuming the creative work of others. In our own way, we are compelled to put something out there in the hope that in some way it will connect with someone else.
You got me recalling the days of being a teen who escaped life as it was by sketching (when not reading). We had one of those family vacations way back when…our family of mother, father, and 6 kids all jammed into a station wagon. We pulled a little camper trailer behind on our way to the Seattle World’s Fair. Needless to say, we were cramped and it was chaotic. Being the “senior sister” it was usually my duty to tend one or both of the babies. When not doing that I was enthralled with the landscapes we passed by. I sketched much of it, and once involved in sketching I could tune out all the chaos. That need to create coincided with the need to escape into my own world. That is when I first began to view myself as an artist instead of just a person who liked to color and draw. And so the story began.
Thank you. I so needed your post right now at this very moment. It got me back on track. Gotta go, there are paintings waiting. :)
It always makes me happy when a post reaches someone at the right time. Thanks so much Tracy for letting me know. Now go get to work! :)
I reported this in my FB group My Art Tutors Tips n Tricks. Great post!
Thanks for sharing the post with your FB group Vicki, I really appreciate it!
I am someone stumbling around the creative process trying to find what is real and true for me. Showing up is my ultimate challenge because everything else seems as if it is more important. This post and many of your other ones help me to recommit to my art, even if it appears to have no value to anyone but me. Thank you!
When it comes to stumbling around the creative process, I’m right there with you Kelly, and you’re absolutely right that for whatever reason, it is far too easy to push your creative art to the back burner in the midst of everything else going on. Sometimes I’m not sure if this is a defense mechanism for my fragile ego, or if it’s just good old-fashioned procrastination. Either way, it’s not always easy to “show up” and put in the work.
This reminds me of the book “Art and Fear” — there are so many reasons to stop, but what makes a successful artist isn’t talent nearly as much as it is that famed ‘showing up.’
As a person with psychiatric disabilities, I find it difficult to keep up with the basic necessities of life sometimes, It never ceases to amaze me, though, how much more smoothly the rest of my life falls together if I can take that little bit of time for art every day. Something, anything, to remind me who I am and to shore up my own inner strength to continue the fight.
Thanks for this.
Thanks Willow and the fact that this post in some way reminds you of one of my all-time favorite books “Art & Fear” is quite a compliment :)
I think you’re right that whether we are talking about eating healthier, exercising more, or creating our art — there is that internal reward for showing up and not taking the easy way out. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes. When you set that time aside to create, you are reaffirming to yourself that this is a priority in your life and it’s important to you. Like I mentioned in the “Chains” post, it kind of becomes a point of pride and you don’t want to let yourself down. You described it perfectly when you said that the act of creating “shores up your inner strength” which gives your the ability to “continue the fight”. Simply by showing up, you push yourself forward and that momentum can be a very powerful thing.
What a great article. It’s definitely easy to let everything else in life get in the way of creating art. It’s a battle I fight each day. Just as I have made it a priority to go to the gym 4 days a week for the past year, it is now time to do the same for my art. It has to be as important as brushing your teeth, and it will become a habit. :) great site!
Thanks Cassie, I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment and I think you’re absolutely right that most days it’s way too easy to come up with (really good) excuses not to go to the gym or to sit down and create something. However like you said, we just need to find a way to make it a priority in our life like anything else that is really important to us :)
It is me, myself and I that stands in the way of making art. Too often my mind tells me that what I’m creating isn’t good enough and therefore not worth my time. Another common one is that I have enough art standing around my home and I might feel that I should be spending my time trying to sell it or market it, things that can easily eat up a whole day and leave little creativity alive in the mind.
For me, it is the fun that makes me turn up every day. When I have overcome doubts and my own mental hurdles, I just really enjoy doing my thing!
Maybe there are people in your neighborhood that would help you build your creative gazebo? One of my friends actually found enough enthusiastic teenagers to build an amazing shed!
Unfortunately you are exactly right Rosi that often it’s our own self-doubt that keeps us from creating anything. All of these other so-called reasons are little more than excuses to keep us from exposing ourselves and our work to others. So we come up with busywork to distract ourselves from our real work of creating. We end up filling our day with so much frantic and often pointless activity that we can’t blame ourselves for not having the time to create.
Eventually it kind of becomes a vicious circle that slowly eats up the days, months, and even years of our life. I know because it’s something that I still struggle with every day myself. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about all of the time I wasted yesterday doing stupid stuff, all I can really do is to try and do better today!
Another great post. I should probably take my computer out of my studio so I spend less time reading SkinnyArtist and more time painting! ;)
Hope you’re doing well, mate and I always enjoy your posts.
Thanks Trevor for your kind words, but I can’t help but think that taking your computer out of your studio and severing your lifeline to this site would be a huge
benefit mistake to your creative productivity ;)
What a true thing is this: ‘Successful creative artists learn to play “hurt”’ I so agree.
Old-time circus troupes had a motto that goes something like this: ‘never let ’em see you hurting.’ I think it means to give the audience the very best you can do, no matter what it costs you. I think also of champion high-board divers, skaters and ballet dancers who put their bodies and minds through extraordinary trials to make their performances look ‘easy.’ One other thing. Instead of talking about ‘life getting in the way of art’ how about remembering the fact our lives – in one way or another – are the root of the art we do make? Cheers, Dorothy
I am a very young artist (only 20 years old) but the more and more that I get into my craft, the more and more I realize that art is like sex–the more you do it, the more you want to do it. :p
If I am able to just carve out like 30 minutes to work every day for a few weeks, then eventually I find myself setting out an hour, and then two hours, and then three hours… etc.
I take my camera everywhere, ready to shoot at every opportunity… even when I’m not sure I’ll get one good exposure. When I look at my best work, I never wonder why I spent the time. People think I’m crazy, so I know I’m doing the right things for my art. After work, at lunch if I can, the weekend, or when I travel anywhere, I shoot. I can’t make a living from photography, but I don’t care. I love my art. I live for those times when I am free and creating. Why would anyone put that off?
I just discovered this website and it’s so wonderful to know the trials I face as a newbie to the art world is shared by so many. I’m retiring in my fifties from a mind numbing govt job that demanded zero creativity. Yet I always had that creative nagging but buried it to attend to “reality”.
I’m starting at the bottom, and I’m going to show up in my studio everyday and enjoy the process as an escape from the distractions. I will have an 80% chance of success!
Thanks so much Bill for your kind words and welcome to the community! Although we can’t promise you a smooth ride as you ramble along on your creative journey, we can offer you a good dose of support and encouragement along the way. Congratulations on beginning this new chapter of your life and I wish you all the best :)
good article! Well said. I gotta go “show up” now, but I might post this article somewhere to remind me, when I start to fade, of the thing I need to tell myself (too often): GET ON THAT PONY AND RIDE. KEEP ON KEEPING ON. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT. Thank you.
I agree. Things are not always conducive to creating art, but the act of just doing it can be a solice. It is an escape that nags at you but when you succumb to the nagging, your spirit is nourished.
Just do it.