The ability to be creative and use that creativity as an avenue to express ourselves and make a statement is a gift. It’s a gift that our generation is doing an excellent job at unwrapping perfectly. When it comes to creativity, for most, it is doing what you are genuinely passionate about, and this can be nerve-racking. Our art, music, photography, creative literature, etc. are an outward expression of our most authentic selves. Hence the vulnerability. And because art is so personal, it becomes quite easy to blur the lines between your work and your identity. This leads to too many artists “undervaluing what they are and overvaluing what they are not”. This kind of self-deprecation, which is common among creatives is a flaw. You have to appreciate your art no matter how small and inconsequential you think it is.
Yes, you should always try to better your work and find inspiration in people doing what you admire, but you should also not let failures define you. With consistency and practice, you will get better. Play to your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses while constantly seeking to grow. Be inspired by others while avoiding unhealthy comparisons and sometimes jealousy.
Another aspect is that many define their success by the number of people that agree with or clap for them. You know, by the number of likes and followers for example. Too often, the need for validation comes prematurely, and that constant attention seeking (even if for legitimate reasons) can derail your creative authenticity, mess with your process, and even worse, dampen your inspiration. Being able to translate all the creative yearnings in your heart and bring your creative visions to life should be what brings you true fulfillment. As with most things in life, when you stay true to yourself and continue to do better work, the validation will come organically.
Play to your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses while continually seeking to grow. Be inspired by others while avoiding unhealthy comparisons and sometimes jealousy.
They say clarity is the gift of hindsight. I once fell into this trap of the need for validation and the need to fit into what everyone did. It made me start to create work for the sake of getting noticed and not because I wanted to release my creative ideas. This led me to create work that I will forever be ashamed of. Don’t get carried away by needing to be on the world stage that you lose sight of who you are. To rephrase a popular quote: “Know thy creative-self.”
Seek Constructive Criticism
Criticism when construction can be a great instrument of growth. Find a mentor or someone who you trust and respect to give you feedback on your work and together you can identify areas you can improve and grow and also identify areas where you are getting it right. It is a healthy and needed aspect of creativity.
You must always go through your work and identify areas you can improve. You should always seek to do better. Also be reflective about your sources of inspiration. You’ll realize that as you grow as an artist or creator, the things that inspire you also change and so does your interests and what you spend your time on. Be intentional about this, so your path is better defined.
“Know thy creative-self.”
Reading and Journaling
Reading and journaling is a form of introspection. But with this, you get to step away from your art and creative zone. Reading inspirational books, coming of age books, good fiction books or articles will help you grow and makes you more well-rounded. Journaling is a form of meditation that forces you to write down and process your thoughts which increases self-awareness. These two activities create a sort of quiet, and this makes you a better creator.