The creative life style can be enchanting, daunting, intimidating, challenging, but also magical. There are artists that get lost in it. Turning their creativity into an obsession. Lose their minds to the addiction of chasing what I call the elusive creative dragon. Consultants use the term to describe branding and peddle creativity like it's some kind of magical cure all to understanding your audience and entrepreneurs describe it as the foundation of their work. Creativity is at it's core is a mystery. A puzzle. A muse.
But you know, I find that everyone lives a creative lifestyle. I recently watched this movie called Burnt and in the beginning of the movie there is a quote, "Jean Luc, my mentor - the guy who gave me a chance as a chef - said to me it was God who created oysters and apples. And you can't improve recipes like that. But it is our job to try." Everyone on this planet is trying. Trying to create their own realities- and they are doing it. Each and every one of you is co-creating with the universe. You are mastering your creative skills in this reality.
But what about the artists? How do they successfully live a creative lifestyle? I am here to tell you right now that there is no blueprint way to living a creative life. Everyone's space here on this planet looks different. When I was younger, I imagined that a creative lifestyle would be travelling the world, writing and creating art while hanging out in restaurant shops with other artists. I imagined myself never having to really get a real job and I could always go to tons of concerts and become besties with every artist that ever inspired me to be better.
Then reality hit. I got my first job at a fish market and although, I had a co-worker that loved to discuss philosophy, really, I had to get up at 4am to get to my job by 7 on the weekends, go to school on weekdays, and hang out with my family and friends (and see tons of concerts!) in my free time. I carried along a journal that I could write in, but drawing was just out of the question.
I would say that during that time in my life, there was little space for my creative space and although I honored it by being the embodiment of a chaotic being for a good amount of years, I only recently managed to develop a better lifestyle and gain control of my creative powers.
But that doesn't mean I am a master at this, at all. Although, I would say that it has been great to be co-creating with many projects in my life, at this moment in time, creativity and I have been in couple's counseling these last couple of months. Getting honest about our conversation and finding a deeper understanding of what I am chiseling out of my reality.
What does creativity want me to really leave on this world? But that topic is for another time and it will unveil eventually. For now, I have my GreenSpring Gardens Art show happening in August that I am painting and I have motherhood to work on. The larger picture is yet to be unveiled, which brings me to my first tip for living a creative life:
When it comes to understanding your creative powers, you have to let go of perfection. For a while, I chased perfection. Not because I wanted it, but because I wanted it for my family. My husband is also a creative (musician/writer) as well as my daughter. My family and I are all in deep relationships with our creativity and that means that in order to maintain our creativity, we need to have more simplicity in our life. In my mind, that meant that we could all get what we wanted in this life and I wanted my daughter especially to have the best of the best of everything. I visualized what our life would be like and I began to obsess over it. This really messed with my creativity. The universe was like, "Yo, Mel, you need to chill and let me honor your wishes." Once I accepted that my mental health and my emotional health is the ceiling for perfection, I stopped chasing it. I surrendered and now, I have so much more time to create art, memories, and still nurture the other parts of my life.
2. Separate and Accept
You are not a genius. I hate to break it to you, my friend, but you aren't and if you haven't accepted that yet, you will not be prepared for what I am about to say next. You are merely a vessel of your energy. Your physical body and this reality merely manifests what your energy is telling you. You must separate your personality and "who I am" questions from your ideas. Allow the ideas to manifest as their own beings. Now, I am not saying that you aren't awesome, because you are, but your ideas will become their own entity. An example: I am a mom. My child is an amazing human. She is developing more and more into her own entity. She is not in anyway a manifestation of "who I am". Motherhood is a role that I have created in this reality. Just like artist is a role also. I am merely a guide to my child as I am a guide to my ideas. To see them chisel out into their own entities is my greatest accomplishment and I accept that they are merely the children of my womb. This mindset change has totally allowed me to accept more and more with greater confidence who I am does not define what I create.
3. You are a Project Manager
One of my favorite things that artists will always say to me is "I want to do all the things!" lol. But do you? Do you really want to do all of it? That sounds freaking exhausting and to be honest, I would much prefer to have space in my life for good eating and also a couple of naps. What is it that you want to do the most? What common denominator can be found in "all the things" that you want to do? Time is our greatest enemy. If you are caught up in the idea generator, Floating around like a cow or Dorothy's house searching for the land of Oz, you won't find it. Get out of the Tornado! Find out what Inspires You and then Pick something to land on and create a checklist of actionable things that you can do for that project and DO IT. TRUST ME ON THIS. When I decided that I needed to get back into painting for real, I decided that the only way to get out of this tornado was to create 1 painting everyday for 365 days. I made so many paintings and I tossed around so many ideas that I found what I wanted to land on. And now my friends, I am tra la-la-la-ing down the Yellow Brick Road of Project Management. And by Project Management, I mean, made a checklist for my Creative Idea and I am going through the actionable steps to get it done. And the best part about this is, if you make it actionable, that creative idea will literally stop haunting you and you can sleep better at night!
4. Don't Resist. Persist.
So there are 10 million books out there. One of your ideas just became a New York's best seller. Modern Art has paintings that are literally just a giant canvas of blue. You feel like resisting. The non-believers are out there chanting, "My kid could paint that!" "Your Poetry sounds like a second hand rendition of <insert famous Poet> <insert Internet Meme Poet>!" You don't feel confident enough and you can feel the heavy resistance of your regular life telling you to just fill your creative space with something else.
Tell those people to cry you a god damn river. Stop reading the New York Best Seller List. and find out what color Blue that giant blue canvas is called. Buy a little bit of it and use it in your next painting. Write a poem and don't share it on social media until you have so many poems that giving one away on Instagram is a gift to Society not a grasp for attention. PERSIST in your QUEST. At the end of the persistance rainbow is a big old pot Gold "YAY, I AM A BEAUTIFUL CREATIVE UNICORN" coins. (side note: any blockchain coin makers- do not take my coin phrase! (hahaha, kidding))
5. Nurture Your Relationships
Simplify. Yeah, I said it. Simplify your relationships with not just people, but things and moments. If something is holding onto you and dragging you through mud, let it go. It is not meant for you. It is not meant for your space. Your emotional health and mental health are the ceiling to your flow. Do not break the ceiling on this one. Break the ceiling of the norm. Break the ceiling of boring. Break the ceiling of rules. But don't break the ceiling of emotional and mental health. Who said that an artist can't have healthy relationships? Break the ceiling of that archetype. Because the artists before me have lost their mind (minds-tons of them really did) if they don't think that good art comes from good relationships. The people around me support me. Just like I support them. And that goes for my relationships with other things. When I realized that my relationship with coffee was not supporting me, I let it go. I now drink tea and I can switch up my tea as much as I want. If there was a Tinder for Tea Flavors, I swipe left more times than you can imagine. I am curious about tea. I nurture that. We have an open and healthy relationship. I am so so glad to let that Karmic one with Coffee go.
When it comes to Art, nurturing other artists allows them to also grow. Have you ever been in a garden where all the plants there get along? Walk around a national garden sometime in the middle of spring. See how many flowers grow. Imagine your relationships with art and things like that. Your life is the meadow. Blossoming is creativity. Define your creative space for you and plant others there.
My point to all this is- creative life is choosing YES to creativity. It is also choosing YES to your life. You cannot become obsessed with creativity and you CANNOT become obsessed with your life. You have to work in the flow of everything. You have to let things marinate in their incubators until they are ready to come out. A baby takes 9 months to develop. So remind yourself that it takes time to make things happen. It takes time to for creative ideas to manifest. The more that you balance the flow of your relationships, your personal life, professional life, and your creativity, the more you will be a mastermind of your own creative space.