I can remember where I was when I realized I was a project-driven artist.
My wife and I were having dinner at a local pub-estaurant we love and I was talking about how my day job as a corporate sales trainer was good, but not artistically fulfilling. Sure, I was thankful for the job, the pay and the people I worked with and the trainees I’d helped, but a part of me was needed a little nurturing.
That part wasn’t being fed or watered. I felt it inside me grasping for breath.
My wife mentioned that she thought we were ‘project people’. That is, we like to birth an idea, cultivate it until it can stand on its own and then release it and move onto the next project. Sales training was the opposite of that concept and though I enjoyed several parts of the job, I wanted more.
I wanted to contribute more. I wanted to see the process through. And I wanted it for myself.
That last part…the ‘for myself’ was probably the most difficult to come to peace with for me.
Two minutes of great inspiration from the late Vonnegut:
“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
Attributing fellow artists’ accomplishments to anything but work ethic, desire to learn and dedication is a grave mistake for our own creativity.
Yet, it’s easy to fall into this dishonoring thinking pattern.
Would we think/speak this way with any other occupations or hobbies?
He’s a natural at building houses. He was born that way.
She just knows accounting. I don’t know how but she’s just got that “it factor’.
He’s so lucky at writing software and getting it to the market.
Ridiculous, right? Then why do we sometimes think/speak this way about the work and success of our fellow creatives? Somehow it feels right (or good) for us to downplay the work of others and emphasize luck instead. Continue reading “Degrading Other Creatives”
As I sit in the quiet of this morning, sharing my heart with a tiny, blinking cursor on a screen in a tiny, beautiful home before anyone else gets up, I am in awe. The rise and fall of my breath and warmth all around reminds me that I have everything I need…and more. Every single need met.
It’s refreshing and astounding how taking one moment at the beginning of the day causes gratitude and thankfulness to well up and spill into the rest of the day. Just by listing those three things at the top of this post, my mind and heart get emboldened, realizing I’m cared for by God and have nothing to worry about. Continue reading “Living In Awe”
As creatives, we’re tasked with the privilege of seeing our creative projects evolve in three basic stages: getting the initial idea, implementing the idea into our medium and then producing the finished work.
Along this path is the dichotomy of focus.
We must be open to change, but not get too distracted.
We embrace playfulness, yet need to be responsible.
We often create in solitude, but we need community and connection.
The dichotomy of focus reminds me of ballet. As many of my acting gigs involved choreography, I wanted to learn the basics of movement, so I signed up for ballet classes.
The teacher would say seemingly incongruent instructions to help us learn the physical and mental demands of the artform.
Such a dichotomy of terms that it seemed the teacher was schizophrenic, yet when she demonstrated we saw exactly what she meant.
What ballet taught me to do in all of my creative work was to enjoy several disciplines at once. As the term “focus” implies being intent on only one thing, it’s too narrow a word for our type of work.
I enjoy embracing the whole of the process rather than just a part.