When I was younger and learning art history I had a strange notion that artists were mysterious beings and their craft chaotically spewed out of them from drug or alcoholic-induced trances. I thought that all painters and sculptors were manic beings that drew from some mysterious creative ether that only appeared after an appointment with crazy. Although that might be true for a very small percent of artists I know now that the majority of creatives do not leave inspiration to chance and self-destructive tendencies. Rather they actively and methodically exercise their creativity much like an athlete works out their body.

This was a revelation to me. It was similar to what I heard professors tell me several times while I was earning a journalism degree, “Great writers are made, not born.” If I was to become a better writer I had to write. Sometimes it wasn’t fun and a lot of times I ended up with a pile of useless paragraphs filled with run-on sentences and dangling modifiers. But the more I wrote the better I got at it. Why I thought this didn’t applied to artists is still a mystery to me.

But the same is true with artists and if you are new to the art world and easily get frustrated don’t give up. The discomfort you feel is part of the process. Your creative muscles need to get worked out in order to get stronger. Great artists actively engage their creativity everyday.

Here are some tips:

  • Set aside a dedicated creative space where you live. Have all the tools you need to produce your art within easy reach.
  • Start a collection of creative found objects that catch your eye. Display them prominently in your creative space. (Pinterest is a great online resource for collecting inspiration.)
  • Schedule a daily block of time for your art work. Carve out 30 minutes, an hour, two hours where you drop everything and focus on your creative mind.
  • Make clear goals for what you will work on. Write up a shortlist of art ideas that you want to make and make them.

Last week Laura and I began our annual review at WE Design Studios. From the outset we immediately discovered that we all too often neglected our creativity as the relentless ocean of small business owner work shifted, pushed and pulled at us. We decided to take action and deliberately reclaim time for engaging our passions. For me, each morning before I do anything else, I am now writing at least 500 words. It doesn’t matter what I write as long as I am exercising my writing muscle.  Laura has finally set up her work space and is actively populating it with colorful papers, drawings and vintage postcards that inspire her artistic muse.

We want WE Design Studios to become better. The New Year is coming soon. Join us in deciding to live an intentionally creative life. Art on!

  • http://selllikeagirl.com Jeanne Worrick

    Beautifully said, David.