5 Reasons Why The Most Important Thing You Can Create Is Not The Art Itself

When we talk about being creative, for most of us the first thoughts and images that come to mind are about making art. Painting, photography, writing, poetry, music, film, design, dance and so on. The list is virtually endless.

These are the classic expressions of artists that we experience and recognise as art.

But whilst you might well create (and already have created) some incredible works of art yourself, in your own unique way, the most important thing you can create (for you, and for everyone who has been, is, and will be your audience) is not actually the art itself.

In order to be able to create any artistic expression, we need the time, space and opportunity.

Crayons de couleur
image: Alain Bachellier

It’s obvious, isn’t it, that to actually make something, we need to devote time and energy to it?

We need to create the conditions and habits that are most conducive to our creative flow.

We don’t just awake each day to magically find our notebooks, films or easels filled with wonderful art.

And yet this is so often what we expect and hope for, without much effort, without striving to make it happen, with giving our creativity what it needs to have a chance of thriving. Then we wonder why we’re so frustrated and never feel creatively fulfilled.

To be able to create we need to help ourselves, because ultimately, we’re the only person that can.

These are the 5 most important things you can create for yourself, to be able to create the greatest art you’re capable of:

Create time.

When we complain of not having enough time, it’s not about time at all, but priorities. Stuff gets done in your life, every day, the stuff you are making a priority. If you want more time to create, you simply have to make it a higher priority. It’s your choice, it’s in your hands. You can create something worthwhile in just 15 minutes a day. Isn’t that a better way to choose to use your time than 15 minutes of TV or sleep or continually checking email?

Create physical space.

Do you find that when you do make time to create, with an idea bursting to be brought to life, you rush to your creative space only to find it cluttered and half buried in papers and other random objects? You can’t find the materials you need, and by the time you do clear enough space, your creative inspiration has all but dried up. Having somewhere, however small, as a dedicated creative space for you to create in will have a huge positive impact.

Create mental space.

Are you allowing yourself to be creative? In your mind, in your view of yourself, do you see yourself as a creative artist? If the answer is no, then you’re already subliminally sabotaging your creativity. Once you accept that you need to create, that it’s as vital to your life and wellbeing as eating and breathing, you give yourself permission to be creative. Put aside those negative thoughts, you are a talented, creative individual.

Create momentum.

If you haven’t created in a while, then expecting to return and produce a masterpiece in an evening is setting yourself up for a big fall. The best way to become creatively consistent is to create consistently. Make it a daily habit. Just 15 minutes of creating a day can be very powerful. As you gain more and more momentum, and increase the amount of time you create for each day, it can quickly become a virtually indestructible habit.

Create support.

Most creative work is done alone, that’s true, and we need this kind of isolation to create at our best. But we also need support and encouragement and understanding from other creatives like us. By creating a support network for yourself, you will have people to hold you accountable to creating, and to becoming the wonderful artist you know inside you can be. Start by seeking out an online creative community, or one locally.

Before you can create the best artwork you’re capable of, you need to create the conditions that are going to support you as strongly as possible.

Start with the 5 above, give each the attention it deserves, and in a few weeks, you’ll see a transformation in your creativity.

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8 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why The Most Important Thing You Can Create Is Not The Art Itself”

  1. Thanks, I really enjoyed this post.

    It think its important to recognize what it takes to begin to create. Creativity does not just happen, it is not magic, but instead requires time, space, tools, skills, and thought (lots of thought!).

    If you are working on being creative know that you need to have things in place to support yourself.

    Thanks for sharing,


    1. Thanks for your thoughts Sally.

      I think you’ve summed it up well, we need that support structure in place around our creativity to be able to be creative.

      Unfortunately, too many people neglect their creativity, then expect to come up with a masterpiece on demand, and get frustrated and beat themselves up when they don’t. We need to look after and nurture our creativity as best we can.


  2. As someone who is starting over I find your 15 minute per day suggestion working perfectly for me.
    Using this method I do not feel pressured or overwhelmed with myself. if I can hum along longer all the better but never with pressure at this time.
    Thank you Dan for these excellent suggestions.



    1. Exactly Barbara, 15 minutes (even 5 minutes) a day is just the starting point, you “hum along longer” as you put it as and when you feel like it. And you will feel like it. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting.


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