The Three Essential Es Of Being A Happy Creative Artist

image: dan james
image: dan james

There are a number of elements we need in place to be not only creative, but happy and fulfilled in our creative work.

I find it helps to break them down and clarify them, so we can see more easily which are in place and working for us, and which may be lacking, and holding us back.

So let’s talk about three of the most important of these elements for creative happiness.


Do you feel excited by the art you’re currently working on? Do you tingle with anticipation at your next creative session, the next artistic avenue you’re planning to explore? Does your work motivate you, and feel like one of the best things you have ever done, or could ever be doing, with your time?

If instead you feel bored, uninspired, disinterested, and as if you’re just going through the motions, then what kind of environment is that for the creation of your best work, or indeed the creation of any work?


Are you enjoying your current creative projects? Do you look forward to the next time you’re going to be working on them? Are they a fun way to dedicate your time? Do you get completely lost in the work when you’re in the midst of it and forget everything else?

If instead you’re not feeling any pleasure creating, or worse still you’re dreading or avoiding creating because it’s so unenjoyable, then how is that going to make you want to spend any time creating artwork you can be proud of?


Do you feel you’re progressing as an artist, and that your work is evolving? Can you see by looking back over recent work how your path is unfolding, and how your skills and eloquence in creating are improving? Are there themes developing, your focus ever increasing?

If instead you feel like you’re creating exactly the same work, in exactly the way, as you were doing years ago, and never challenging yourself to discover or learn anything new, then again this isn’t the kind of atmosphere that’s conducive to making your best new work.

With all three of these elements, it’s fairly easy to gauge a reading and ask yourself how happy you feel with your creative life.

At this point, how do well you feel these three elements are served and working in your creative life?

If you feel any of them are lacking, then it’s time to take an honest look at the finer detail, and ask some tough questions.

There are two ways to approach this –

1. Analyse the whys and wherefores of your current creative choices and ways of working.

I don’t suggest this approach, because you can spend an endless amount of time lost in (over)analysis, without actually making any changes that will improve your creative life.

Much simpler and more direct is the second option –

2. Find the work you do love.

We all have a built in barometer that quickly and clearly tells us what we enjoy, are excited by, and that challenges us to grow and evolve. It’s no huge secret.

Ask yourself, if there were no limitations imposed by you, or anyone else, what would you love to be creating right now?

This might be similar to what you’re already doing, with just a few minor tweaks.

Or it might be a radical overhaul.

You might want to ditch the paintbrushes and begin that poetry anthology you haven’t been able to get out of your head for the last 12 months.

You might want to stop writing stories and explore the actor in you that hasn’t been given even a hint of a stage to express himself in years.

You might want to hang up your camera and dive into mixed media and collage, to explore the three dimensional tactile textures that photography doesn’t give you.

Whatever it is, you know what it is already.

It’s work that excites you, that you enjoy, and that allows you to evolve.

So, how are your three Es currently looking?

Pop over and join the conversation to tell us more…


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