Do you ever find there are times when you wonder whether your creativity has dried up like a riverbed in the longest hottest summer ever known, never to be revived, and you’ll never again taste even a single drop of that creative flow you so long for?
Sometimes too, do you question whether you still exist as an artist at all, as if there’s a minimal quota that you must produce each year, month, day or hour, to retain the validity of your membership to some unspoken authentic artists club?
Most of us at some point have thoughts like these, and feel like our right to claim the title of artist is sketchy at best, and laughable at worst.
But there is no exclusive artists club with special rules that tell you you must create for a certain length of time each day, or churn out a fixed number of poems or photos or paintings per month.
That is, there’s no EXTERNAL club.
You may however have gathered your own set of rules together over the years, and come up with a habit of unfavourably comparing yourself with other people who you consider are artists. You, know, “real” artists.
And you’ve probably made the rules rather sophisticated and ever evolving, so it makes it almost impossible for you to meet them. Meaning you can keep whacking yourself with that big old charlatan stick over and over again. Ouch.
The best way to get out of this kind of cycle is twofold.
First, realise that the only “rules” about what make you an artist come from your own thoughts.
If you think you’re an artist, you are. If you don’t think you are, you’re not. It’s a simple as that. You can decide exactly the same for anyone you know. You can make up your own criteria by which you measure whether these people qualify as artists or not.
But honestly, does any of this really matter? No. Do you create just so you can say to yourself you’re an artist? Or do you create because there’s stuff just burning inside you desperate to be brought to life, and when you do create at your fullest potential you enjoy it so much, you feel invincible, and like nothing else makes you feel?
My money would be on the latter. And I think it would be a safe bet.
The second way to help yourself out of this pattern of not feeling you’re an artist is to just look at all you create.
Have a mini review of the last three to six months and start writing down all the stuff you’ve done. Don’t just go over it in your head, actually write it down. And don’t just count the large, obvious artwork and creative projects. Think about all the ideas you’ve had, all the things bubbling in your mind. Think about all the conversations you’ve been a part of, the people you’ve engaged with.
Think about all the tiny daily things you don’t count as creative like preparing meals, or teaching or helping people, solving problems at work and home, and making people feel loved and valued.
You’re creative every moment of the day, even if you’re not writing and painting.
The only person you need to justify your existence as an artist to is yourself. Because you make up the rules about what that means, you’re free to see yourself as an artist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you choose to.
And after all, that’s exactly who you are. You really don’t know how to be any other way.
You couldn’t stop having ideas and being creative if you wanted to. Your whole life is your art!
So, stop doubting, start acknowledging just how much you do, how much you create. You’ll amaze yourself at how much it is. Then you’ll have irrefutable proof that do exist not just as any old artist, but a genuine, passionate uniquely creative artist.
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