I'm not alone, right?
Yesterday I wrote that I’ve spent a lifetime trying to figure out what sparked my flame, but that isn’t exactly true.
A better way to say it would be that I’ve spent a lifetime withholding fuel from that flame.
The problem with creativity is that our natural creative impulses often get squashed like bugs early on in our artistic careers.
Mom won’t put my drawings up on the fridge (so my drawings must suck). Or a classmate’s drawings get fawned over and mine are ignored (so my drawings must suck). Or a kid laughs at my idea, so my ideas must suck, too.
All this leads to me telling myself that I’m just not creative.
I'm not alone in this, right? I hear people say that all the time. "I'm just not creative."
Then even though that creativity is clearly begging to be let out to play, and even though I make attempts to open the door for it, I can’t seem to get past the idea that I suck at art. This is how a person spends a lifetime denying her passions, withholding fuel from the flame.
Broken promises stop here
I’ve been looking back through old journals lately and I see how this sketching thing has been dying to come out for years. I keep saying I’m going to start drawing every day. I give myself 30 day art challenges. I make resolutions. I promise.
Until now, I’ve broken every promise to make art part of my daily life, to open the door to those creative impulses in a systematic way. To give myself the gift of practice, and failure, and exploration. To get curious. To try new stuff just to see what happens. To hang my pictures on the fridge. To withhold judgment. To stop comparing what I make to what everyone else makes and to be content with the making. To be content with the journey without grandiose expectations of the destination.
In 2016 I attended the Trail Dames Summit and took a workshop on nature journaling. The teacher, Carole Pivarnik, shared that when she decided to quit her job and “become an artist,” she dedicated a year to sketching every day in order to teach herself how to see and how to use her materials.
I learned two amazing things in that workshop.
One…that a person can just decide to up and become an artist. Who knew?
Two…that it doesn’t happen overnight.
Cultivating creativity is a process. It takes time and patience and, for me at least, a willingness to learn from every drawing, regardless of what I think about them.
Today marks Day 29 of my promise to myself to sketch every day, to learn to see and to learn my materials. I've decided to up and become and artist and I'm celebrating each day of that journey by throwing a few logs on the fire.
I'm cultivating my creativity through sketch journaling. How are you cultivating yours? Leave a comment and let us know how you feed your creative flame.