|Original image property of Jocelyn Wardle|
I've written before about how YOUR (yes YOUR! Oh look, my used car salesman persona has come back to haunt this blog...) creativity gets the ball rolling for others. How the creativity of one inspires another and helps our individual sphere of influence stretch to infinity and beyond.
Still, I felt like dedicating a blog post to that idea. So, like all good bloggers I made a list about WHY you should be more creative, and fuck the excuses:
1. Because, like I said before, it helps others to be more creative:
It let's them in on the secret of happiness (which, in my book is the creative spirit in us). Your wins and fails, your process, how you handle yourself in dire straits or among huge successes shows others how to do it. It teaches them lessons.
2. You will become a forum for the creative expression of others:
Or even just ONE other. If you are creative and have just one person following that journey they might tell someone else. You might help induce a higher connection, a more quality relationship between two people (or, y'know, a million) because you've opened them up to each other. People can gather under another person, band, artist, writer, filmmaker and learn new ways of connecting with one another. Don't be afraid to BE that forum of creative expression.
3. This shit is the fucking secret to happiness:
Excuse my language, but seriously. If you're a neurotic psychopath like I am, you're probably constantly over-analysing and stressing about LITERALLY EVERYTHING. So much so, that half the time you're not even in the room despite being, y'know "in the room". Being creative and working on something is a great distraction, it also gives you something to talk about if you're stuck for conversation starters. Seriously though, always working toward some kind of goal really is the secret - or maybe just my personal secret - to happiness. It's exactly how to harness that human need to strive for 'more' and turn it into a positive.
4. In time you will become better at your craft:
Whether you're just starting out on your creative journey, or you've been at it for years, developing the discipline to TRY and do something creative (or just in your particular field of creativity) will help hone your skill level, and not only your physical skills but also the skill of creating enticing and interesting ideas to add depth to whatever it is you are creating. If you're constantly studying nature in order to paint it, you might become more and more prone to noticing certain patterns or textures and how they repeat. Because of the level of attention you pay here you might begin to develop ideas around these new observations.
5. It might help you understand the drive behind your own creativity:
Who doesn't love a little armchair psychology? I know I do! I love finding little ticks and triggers in both the work of others and myself which help me understand the rooting drive I have to create things. Why do I write? Why do certain ideas speak to me so particularly? Attempting to understand these drives and what they can help me achieve is a really grounding experience, and one I urge others to pursue. What is it you want? What is the effect you want to create in the rooms you leave behind? I doubt the real answer is, 'to make money'. Nobody wants to write or paint to make money, unless their head is seriously in the clouds. No, you want something deeper, something more meaningful. Search for it.
6. Achieving smaller goals will help reinforce how much effort you're willing to go through to achieve bigger goals:
The happier and prouder you are when it comes to a finished project inspires a huge chunk of your drive to do more; to work harder and produce more quality. When you can physically see how much of your process or end-product has been refined, and how much you have learnt through the tackling of smaller ideas, you will become more encouraged to take the risks and harness the confidence required to tackle the bigger goals in life.
7. It keeps the creative ideas flowing:
Have you ever been in a creative drought? A place where you just can't seem to think of a decent idea? I'm sure you have. However, where creative droughts exist there also exist creative floods. Periods of time in which you've had one good idea, smashed it out, then another arrives on your doorstep with it's brother, sister and five cousins in tow. You jot them all down in various places, and the more dedicated you are to helping realise each idea every day, the more you are rewarded by new creative ideas showing up. You've opened the floodgates, the river is flowing, ideas are changing and expanding, growing and becoming better.
8. Being more creative provides a sense of positive reinforcement:
The more you practice and appreciate your creativity the more you will find that you positively reinforce yourself, your behavior and your ideas. You will be able to (with time) tell good ideas from bad more easily,
also, you will find that you are bringing yourself more confidence to pursue creative goals, in much the same way being more creative helps you satisfy small goals.
A note on positive reinforcement and how much more it helps the creative process than negative reinforcement:
I am not a fan of people who use negative reinforcement, or unclear direction, when delegating projects to others, or looking through their work. I don't think down-grading or insulting people helps to improve a persons work or situation. I believe that positive reinforcement, a compliment sandwich, or the suggestion of ideas and a nudge in a new direction, are the best ways to handle change or assertion.
9. You will, in time, become braver:
Not 'slaying dragons' brave, perhaps, but at least braver when it comes to chasing opportunities, networking and showing your work. All that mental positive reinforcement has a pay-off. One small success or good, hard try could be the catalyst for chasing a freelancing position, a new job, that idea for a novel that popped into your head at 2am.
10. You will change something:
You don't have to set out to change the world in order to simply change SOMETHING. Be it a person, opinion or even yourself, your creativity being put out in the world possesses all the power of change and more. Your opinions will be seen by someone, somewhere. It will take time, but that is why you need to be consistent. You must work consistently and produce, network and expand your sphere of influence. We all have one, make the effect you create in the rooms you leave behind something to be proud of.