When you love to the spirit of creativity, visual or performing arts, and everything that surrounds the words of “makers” you start to notice some of the things that makes creative types successful.
By “successful,” I don’t necessarily mean rich or well-known (although this is the case for some). What I mean is finding a place for yourself in the creative and artistic world where you as the maker, musician, performer, or writer are happy with the results of your creative pursuits.
There are five words that always come to mind when I think of the creative journey to a successful attitude, both my own and what I’ve noticed from fellow “maker types.”
Of course you need this one. Nothing creative, and I mean nothing, happens without some spark of imagination in the back of the mind. It might come from a weird dream, or simply from seeing something in passing. It might come from hearing, seeing or reading the creations of others. Sometimes, you have no idea from what or how it formed. But your imagination is at work pretty much 24/7. Eventually, something is going to break through to the front of the brainwave line and form into a full-fledged idea.
Sometimes, the most creative process is one that just takes a meandering lead you for you to follow. However, reality can set in and obligations and sharp U-turns in intentions can get in the way. For that reason, you need to make sure you prepare your project. Gather materials, whether it’s the appropriate art supplies or a simple pen and paper. Write down the inspiration quick on paper. Don’t just keep it in your head. I’ve lost more ideas thinking I’ll remember it. Be prepared for anything, and plan your creative attack from all angles.
This is inevitable. Focus is something you have to train yourself to have, especially if your mind is prone to wander. That’s certainly the case with people prone to creativity. Social media is a huge culprit. Heck, while I’ve been working on this post, I created a new music playlist, and read looked up an obscure historic battle and watched the trailer for a new webtoon featuring anthropomorphic cats during the prohibition era. The Internet can’t take all the blame. When the distraction monkey gets you, you’ll be driven to check out the spring flowers, clean off a workspace that isn’t quite right, return to another project already in progress or (gulp) be inspired to start a new one. Distractions happen. Be ready for them.
Not all ideas pan out. You will fail at things. Those lyrics or story ideas you thought were fantastic last week may seem like garbage today. That painting that seemed groundbreaking in your mind may not look so good on canvas. Where was that melody…or novel…or line of fashion you wanted to pursue? Keep in mind, even the ideas that don’t work out have elements of wonderful things to use in other projects.
Sometimes, that failure might come from finding out someone else came up with something similar, and you can’t help but feel disappointed they “beat you to it.” Unless you had big dreams about getting rich off your “original” endeavor, you should be even more inspired to know there are others out there with as weird as mind as your own.
What happens when you do fail? Easy. Take a breather, take the “L” and press on to make it a “W”.
Which leads me to the final word…
As nothing ever begins without imagination, you will get nothing done without action.
How many people talk a out their big project, and never do anything about it? A ton. How many great paintings, songs or movies have been made without someone actually doing the physical feats needed to make them a reality. None.
Sure, we can dream plan all we want, but if you don’t roll up your sleeves and put a brush or pen to paper, you’ve done nothing. You’re ideas are useless as long as you keep then trapped in your head. Creativity isn’t just in your head. It is in the physical world around you. You have to in somewhat interact with that world to bring it to life. It’s as simple as that.
Whether you are creating for yourself, friends, community, or for “the world,” your success in the creative world will in some way involve these five words.