Monday, November 16, 2015

The Challenge of Becoming Successful at Having a Creative Life, Part 1

“Art is a large, very important and beautiful part of life... Art does not merely participate in the life of man. Art shapes the man, his heart and mind, his feelings and convictions – the whole of his spiritual world. More than that art influences the development of society.”[1]
-Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987), Soviet Union Composer

What does the typical day of creative person look like? Short answer: messy! I am not particularly organized in any way, and I dislike the routine of that basic living requires—cleaning, maintaining order in my home environment, cooking, grocery shopping, running errands. Why, you ask? Because I find these things to be a distraction from the projects that I deeply feel driven to accomplish. Inspiration can be fleeting and jotting down, painting, drawing or composing your idea may only be vivid for a few fleeting moments—not the most conducive when you halfway through washing dishes. I am constantly starting new ventures and exploring artistic possibilities, an example of art shaping my life as I hope it will change yours! As long as these projects fit with my creative endeavors, what Dmitry Kabalevsky in one of his books called your “life’s theme,” then I know that I have a purpose, meaningful to both me and those around me. As you may have guessed, my life’s theme is also the title of this blog: impulsive artistry—inspiring others though art.      

A Brief List of Challenges to an Artistic Lifestyle

·      Money
·      Time Management
·      Over Scheduling
·      Lack of Planning
·      Anxiety   

·      General Laziness
·      Procrastination
·      Fear of Failure
·      Self-Doubt
·      Low Self Esteem

Tips for a Scheduler

Now you may be thinking, “Ok Charles, I am not a messy person, and I love to have schedules, planning, order and structure. How on earth can you live the way you describe? You must be a lazy!” Or perhaps, “Does this mean that someone who has a personality that needs order and structure cannot be creative?” Not at all; however, a common theme among artists is a looser, somewhat bohemian way of life. My suggestion to the more organized types is to schedule a little time to incorporate art into your life, take 15 minutes and write a poem or start a short story. Spend a little time each day rather than not starting at all and do your best to make time within your busy schedule. If you do, you will feel happier about yourself and your world—one of the best cures for anxiety that I found for myself is to be creative, it keeps me focused on the here and now, rather than worrying about the future and I am happy as a result! 

Thoughts for the Spontaneous Type (like me)

As I said above, a common theme among artists is a looser, somewhat bohemian way of life. Here is the “Catch 22.”  Over structure and scheduling seems to kill my creative drive for me personally, but I also need a certain amount of order so that I am productive at all. I am not naturally good at maintaining or even noticing external details around me—a product of my personality type, INFP (I will dive into this topic in another post soon). I do want to stress that I appreciate order/cleanliness, schedules, and structure to certain degree, but I am just bad a maintaining them and that is ok. To be clear, I am not by nature lazy at all, however, I just want to channel all of my energy into artistic efforts rather than the day-to-day maintenance. As you will see though, I have learned to balance my creativeness with the practical side of life, a major challenge to having a successful creative life.

Dealing with Failure

In our society, we often judged on what we have done, and not what we have attempted to do, while this is logical, the downside is that many people assume that they cannot accomplish much and are afraid to fail. Failure can sometimes be better for us in the long run than always being successful. Out of a dozen paintings, a handful will be successful to me as the artist. Don’t be afraid of failure, it is how we grow and learn. Better to fail than not try at all!

Another Challenge

 One of the traps of being an artist that I touched on in the last paragraph is becoming a lazy in not only the day-to-day, practical necessities, but also in the artwork creation as well. This is a real problem, especially in our information age culture where entertainment is only a mouse-click away. I honestly struggle with productivity at times, but slowly am learning how to be better at finishing what I start. In Part 2, I will describe a typical day for me, and give you some handy hints that I have found helpful in maintaining a productive, impulsive, and artistic lifestyle! 


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[1] D. Kabalevsky quoted in David Forrest, “Dmitri Borisovich Kabalevsky 1904-1987: Honorary President of ISME 1972-1987,” International Journal of Music Education 22(2) (2004): 156.
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