We are all born creative beings and from the day we come out of the womb, we are challenged to find our creative strengths. It seems everything we did as toddlers are either praised or criticized depending on who our guardian/ parent/ teacher or peer’s were at the time.
How many times were we told as a child “wow – good for you” or “Did you do that all by yourself?” or on the negative side of things, told outright “NO” or “you can’t do that”?
Nurturing creativity is a great thing. When artists are starting out (meaning all of us when we were young or starting a new creative venture) we all need encouragement to further develop our designs, interests. This positive reinforcement is a must to help develop artists / creators in early stages of their craft. Having someone stifle our creativity at this point causes many to treat the craft as a hobby, redirect their interests or worse, quit the craft outright.
It’s those people who often say things like “it’s just a hobby” or if they chose to quit their craft “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”.
“There is no failure, only feedback” – Robert Allen
Creativity is often influenced based on feedback and judgement from those around us, whether they are friends, family, colleagues. When we do not get positive feedback or receive judgement or negative feedback, we often use that information as a basis on how we will move forward with that creativity.
What about the concept of creating in a vacuum? When an artist works in a vacuum, he or she tends to create things that are not influenced by their peers or environmental factors and are often viewed as strange or unusual. Ironically, even though many of these young artists are often criticized for their young works, when they pursue their individual path, they are later recognized for the uniqueness.
“Experiencing sadness and anger can make you feel more creative, and by being creative, you can get beyond your pain or negativity”- Yoko Ono
Some say, those artists who are angry, tend to use that anger in their productivity and it provides them with more creative energy. Not that I want to encourage you to get angry about something and go do your songwriting, pottery, watercolour, wood carving, but just because you are angry, does not mean you should take a break from your craft.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have” – Maya Angelou
There are writers/ artists who say they experience “writers block”. I believe there is no such thing as writers block. I know, this is a bold statement, but I think we have to write / create THROUGH the works in order to get to the gems. In other words, create crap to find the good stuff. As we grow as artists…we create less crap. Sometimes, its better not to think to much while you are creating. In fact, thinking might even get in the way of finding new designs in your works.
As author Ray Bradbury says, “Don’t think…thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”
Let your mind wander and let the creative juices flow.
Don Quarles- is a songwriter, music industry consultant, festival programmer, blogger