Are you an artistic, creative type who is NOT living your life in an inspired and passionate way? If so, you’re in good company. Whatever your age or wherever you are in life, married or single, in school or working (or both!), with or without kids, creative souls NEED to CREATE to feel alive, vibrant and happy.
With the fast pace we live in today, and with responsibilities seeming to grow with each year that passes, we tend to end up on a treadmill of sorts – “the rate race,” “in a rut,” or “just getting by” (and letting a more impassioned life pass us by).
I invite you to slow down and think:
Am I living the life I envision for myself? Am I living the best life possible for ME?
Take a few quiet moments of reflection.
Ask your FUTURE self, if I could be and do anything in life, what would that look like?
Life doesn’t just HAPPEN to us – it unfolds all around us based on the choices we make…every little choice every day. Some are small choices and have small consequences – others are huge and have life-changing consequences. So what will you choose TODAY (and tomorrow, and the next day)?
Fair warning – this is no “fluff” blog list of 10 things you can do for a better life. This list gets into the deeper stuff…so here goes.
10 steps to help you embark on a journey to embrace a more passionate, inspired, and blissful life – for creative souls.
- 1 1. Remember Who You Are (Deep Down) and then REDEFINE Yourself
- 2 2. Embrace Your Inner Child
- 3 3. Believe in Yourself
- 4 4. Acknowledge Fear – and Move Beyond It
- 5 5. Share Your Dreams and Create Your Fan Club
- 6 6. Create a List of Goals and Strategies and WRITE THEM DOWN
- 7 7. Change Your Habits and Make Time to Be Creative CONSISTENTLY
- 8 8. Start a Creativity Blog
- 9 9. Connect with Other Creatives
- 10 10. Always Be Curious Enough to Learn New Things
- 11 DARE TO DREAM CREATIVELY ~ STAY INSPIRED ~ STAY CONNECTED
1. Remember Who You Are (Deep Down) and then REDEFINE Yourself
If someone were to look inside your soul and really SEE who you were on the inside (your dreamy, artsy, scattered, creative self perhaps?), would that image match the person they see when they meet you?
Who is it that you’re projecting to others (and yourself)? Is it a creative individual who can laugh at herself or himself, is accepting of his/her flaws regardless of what others think? Or someone who always seems to have it all together (even when they don’t…they feel like it’s a better image to project)? Or bland and kind of invisible who wouldn’t stand out in a crowd at all?
However you answer, the most important question is — Is that who you REALLY are?
This is a tough one. The way you dress and project yourself, the way you think about yourself and others, the things you do, and even the company you keep – it all reflects a version of YOU. It either draws people toward you like the warmth of a fire, it repels others like the plague, or somewhere in between with little or no effect at all.
The more GENUINE you are (and that takes embracing your most real qualities – good, bad or indifferent), and the more your outside matches your inside, the more you will draw other creative types toward you. The bright light you shine by being yourself will have a hugely positive effect on others. And by connecting with other creative individuals, your artistic passions can have a beautifully inspiring effect.
So why does this matter? You can’t become who you WANT to be until you know who you ARE. Then you can decide where to go next.
2. Embrace Your Inner Child
The happiest grown-ups are really just big kids. Enough said.
But really, what were your passions as a child? What made you happiest? How can you incorporate those activities into your life today?
For example, I had a trash collection as a child (I know…just a little crazy). Along with painting and drawing (which I still do and love), I made things out of paper towel rolls, egg cartons, oatmeal containers, and anything that looked “project-worthy.” Today, I keep old magazines and use those for mixed media collages, and creating collages is one of my favorite activities that brings me back to happy moments in my childhood when I was making something creative out of “old stuff” that other (ahem) *normal* people would throw away.
So think back, find those seeds from your childhood, and NURTURE them today.
3. Believe in Yourself
If you don’t believe in yourself and what you can accomplish, chances are slim that others will rally around you and believe in you either. If you want to be more creative and live an artistic life at any level, believe that you can do it, and that belief will catch on. Great things will happen from there.
We all have moments of doubt when we question our path, our abilities, or talents…during those times, change your thoughts! By changing your thoughts (and this IS a choice), you’ll change your reality. If you THINK you can accomplish something, with perseverance, you will.
4. Acknowledge Fear – and Move Beyond It
Fear is a figment of our imagination. It’s necessary to a point, and yet it can grow (and often does) to a level that stifles us and keeps us trapped in our current situation.
To move beyond fear, adopt an attitude of adventure. Appreciate the adrenaline rush of doing or trying something new, and seek it out. Meet fear head on and break through it…you’ll be surprised how many wonderful experiences are waiting on the other side of fear!
In order to incorporate being more creative into your life in a meaningful way, you’ll need a support system. Share your dreams of living more artistically with your significant other, your kids, siblings, close friends, or anyone who loves you, supports you, and wants you to be happy. Truly, it makes all the difference in making changes that enhance your life.
These people will be your greatest fans. But they can’t support you if they don’t understand – so TELL them. TELL them how you are feeling and what changes you intend to make (and why!)
Your life partner may help with the kids so that you have time to create, or your friends might accompany you to an art gallery or drawing class, or any number of things might unfold that supports you in your goals. So gather your people and bring them along with you along this new path.
6. Create a List of Goals and Strategies and WRITE THEM DOWN
So you’re ready to move forward – you know who you are, who you want to be, you have your fan club on board, and you’re ready for adventure. Next on the list is creating a list of goals.
What do you want for your life?
Connect your goals with the emotion that fuels your most passionate desires. It’s the EMOTION behind the goal that will lead to your success. So write a quick list of whatever comes to mind (you can refine it as you move forward), and then for each goal, attach a “WHY” to it.
For example, if you’re starting with “I want more money” – WHY do you want it? So that you feel more free to travel and experience new things? Or is it so that you can provide more opportunities for your child’s future? Change your goal to suit the emotion behind the first thing you wrote. So, “I want more money” may become “I want the freedom to travel regularly and experience different cultures.”
Once you have your list, move onto strategy.
For each goal, write a few steps you can take to reach the goal (both short-term and long-term).
If you want to travel, you can start short-term with day trips and expand from there.
Keep your list somewhere handy so that you can read it on a regular basis. This will help remind you where you want to be and WHY it’s so important.
Here’s a link to a fabulous Ted Talk video about using DRAWING to create the vision and roadmap to making the life changes you desire, and how our minds work to make visual connections that stick:
7. Change Your Habits and Make Time to Be Creative CONSISTENTLY
Draw, paint, journal, scrapbook, write, sing, dance, take pictures…whatever your passion is, do your creative thing(s)!
It takes time to develop new habits. I’ve often heard that it takes 21 days to develop a habit, though I haven’t found any research to back up that claim. One recent research study I found indicates it can take 66 days of doing something every day before it actually becomes a habit: https://www.spring.org.uk/2009/09/how-long-to-form-a-habit.php.
So be patient.
As far as adopting new habits from a time perspective, figure out what works for you and commit to doing it. If you think you can find an hour a day to create, but then you have trouble sticking to that, then scale back. Maybe it’s more realistic to carve out only 30 minutes a day.
If you just can’t make time to be creative every day, at least stick to a schedule and carve out a longer block. Maybe you take a few hours every weekend.
Another idea is to block out just a bit of time each day for THINKING and PLANNING, and then DOING weekly. If you commute to work, spend that time thinking about what you want to do or create. When the weekend comes along, you’ll already have enough ideas swimming around that you can act on them more easily.
Again, find what works for you and BE CONSISTENT about sticking to it.
8. Start a Creativity Blog
As you’ll see throughout my blog, I’m a HUGE fan of combining ART with BLOGGING. For me, it accomplishes many goals that suit a creative life. And best of all, if you wanted, eventually you could make a living just from your blog (leaving more time in your week to be creative otherwise).
Starting a blog, even as a hobby and not as a profitable venture, is a great way to stay accountable to yourself. If you start a blog about your creative endeavors, you’ll want new things to post, so it can keep your motivation consistent. It also serves as another form of a creative outlet.
You could blog about how you create your art, about what or who inspires you, you could review art materials and supplies…the list could go on and on. (I’ll be creating a new post with a list of artist blog ideas, so stay tuned for that!)
Meanwhile, these posts can provide some additional insight:
Keep in mind that you can gain many benefits of starting a blog even if doing it part-time and NOT with the goal of making it profitable (which is simple, but not easy in terms of the patience, time, and energy it takes to start making money from your blog).
If you DO decide to start a creative blog, I would recommend building a self-hosted blog rather than a free one. It doesn’t cost much, but I’ve found that when you invest even a small amount into something, you take it more seriously (and then if you ever DO want to monetize it, you’re already on the right platform and model for that).
9. Connect with Other Creatives
Once you’re getting a better idea of who you are (as a creative), who you aspire to become, you’ve set some goals and identified some strategies, it’s time to get out there and connect with other creative individuals. Even if you’re an introvert (and I speak from experience here), it’s a very meaningful way to connect to your own creativity.
Celebrate who are you are and learn from others – what inspires you about the people you meet? What can you learn from them?
If you want some tips about networking for artists (formally and informally), take the CRITIC & the MUSE Artists’ Poll (it only takes 1-2 minutes – just 4 multiple choice questions), and on the Thank You page you’ll be able to download the Visual Artists’ Ultimate Networking Blueprint.
10. Always Be Curious Enough to Learn New Things
Invest in yourself…invest your time, your energy, your attention, and even your money into learning new skills and experiencing new things. Whether it’s taking a class, reading a book, asking someone questions about their field of study or inspirations, watching a documentary, or any other activity that piques your curiosity – those moments are where you can draw inspiration and also the confidence to do what you do. Being curious is something we can embrace for the rest of our lives…and adds wonder to every day.
WOW. That’s quite a list now that I’m re-reading it.
So here’s what I encourage you to do next.
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DARE TO DREAM CREATIVELY ~ STAY INSPIRED ~ STAY CONNECTED
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