Finding Your Heart Work – The Real Reasons Why You Create

Heart In Hands
image: aussigal

You and I just need to create. There’s no option, no maybe, no negotiations.

We need to express all those ideas jostling for attention within us, burning to get out and become our masterpieces.

The urge then, is undisputed. We’re artists, we need to make art, in whatever forms that takes.

The reasons why we create, however, are a different matter.

Put simply, we need to create what we need to create, in the way we need to create it.

If we start to get caught up in the wishes and hopes and stories and expectations of others, it only ever leads down one route. And it’s not the route we need to take for ourselves. It’s not the route that leads to a fulfilled and happy artist.

For example, if the main reason you paint is because your mother was a very renowned and highly regarded painter, and your family expect you to follow her footsteps – or rather her brushstrokes – then this probably isn’t the best motivation to paint yourself.

Especially if you don’t particularly enjoy painting anyway, let alone painting with the constant burden of expectation hanging over you to be just like your mother.

We need to shun the shoulds, and embrace the because.

We need to take a close look at the motivations why we’re creating what we’re creating. If it contains the words “should” – especially a sentence like “my parents/teachers/children/friends/peers said I should” – then listen to those alarm bells sounding.

Worse than creating in a way that someone else says you should, is to create what you think someone else thinks you should.

Adding this extra layer – this additional step removed – adds even more confusion and takes you further from your true creative needs.

What if, for years you’ve been creating the type of art, in the type of style that you thought your college art teacher wanted, only to find years later it wasn’t what they wanted for you at all? What a waste!

To avoid creating what we only assume others want us to create, is simple. Just follow your own instinct, your own happiness in creating.

Follow your “heart work”.

If you enjoy creating in a certain medium but not another, it’s a pretty good measure of which one to spend more time on.

Yes, sometimes your work will stretch and be challenging, all part of your continued evolution as an artist. But there has to be the enjoyment there, or why create at all?

Take a moment to think about the creative projects you’ve been working on in the last year or so.

How many of them are your “heart work”? Projects that your heart has drawn you to and is fully engaged and invested in? Projects you create just because you know you need to, not because someone else says you should do.

These are the keepers and the ones that are a good sign of where you future work lies.

How many are “duty work”? Projects that you only did because you felt an obligation to, based on your estimation of someone else’s expectations?

These are the ones to be wary of, the ones that can never fufil you anywhere near as much as your heart work.

And if your not creating your heart work, is it worth creating any work at all?

 

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9 thoughts on “Finding Your Heart Work – The Real Reasons Why You Create”

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. Everyone needs to hear this more. I am an art teacher and am always so worried about how students’ perceptions of what I like color their artistic choices. They actually battle with me when I tell them to channel their creativity doing things they love…some act as if I am trying to “trick” them. And despite my constant desire for my students to work this way, I know I can catch myself making art to please rather than out of my pure need and joy of art-making. Best wishes!

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    1. Thanks Carrie. A member on a recent course of mine was feeling guilty and stuck because they weren’t following every suggestion and step in the book of a very famous Creativity Coach. I tried to remind them that no-one has all the answers, you can take on other people’s suggestions, try them, and keep what works. Then try some of the suggestions of someone else, and so on.

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  2. Totally agree. It’s far to easy to get caught up with ideas of what we should be doing or what other people expect us to do or what is really ‘art’.

    I use the phrase “Whose art is it anyway?” to remind myself and my BYB course participants about this 🙂

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  3. Sometimes I should myself into a corner 🙂
    Spending so much time worrying about not having the right words to inspire or enthuse when perhaps I should just be sharing what is there, in my heart. Thanks for reminding me to stay in the flow…

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    1. I like that expression Kirri – “should yourself into a corner”. I remember a coach who did my part of my coach training years ago phrasing it in a slightly less graceful way – “stop shoulding over yourself”.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

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  4. I teach Hebal Carving, Everybody has creativity ability, You just have to try, to find it ,You have to think out side the Box, there are all sorts of things you can put together & make them beautfull to look at. And thats what gives you joy, to your self & to others and thats what it is all about, Bring joy to everybody.

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  5. I have the privilege of being in the same workshop that Kim Marsters offers her amazing knowledge and skills and this for me is an opportunity I would never have dreamt of.

    Carving hebel really satisfies my soul and having pursued various artistic hobbies this is the one that resonates with something deep inside me.

    So true to live your passion and stay true to yourself!

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