It is a common misconception that freedom gives you the space to be a better creator.
When I first started taking my creative projects seriously, I did not put any restrictions on the projects. I found myself with an abundance of talent and ideas, but the ideas would often fail me and left me with undone and unoriginal projects.
Most creative endeavors must take place within a restricted timeframe and budget.
These limited environments actually foster more creativity than free and open ones, especially if you already know how to perform with a particular skill. Let me explain more clearly.
I left visual arts behind in high school. I decided to pursue a degree in Creative Writing at Old Dominion University and I found myself getting lost in different numbing distractions. The creative method I was using was grasping my creativity and attempting to control it because I had found that the rules behind creativity were established by my predecessors. Drink Whiskey, get drunk, write a poem, find unrequited love, and then echo these horrible tones of control through my poetry. My poems sucked. I had not embraced my creative method for what it was. I merely chose to live a life of my own that was made up of someone else’s rules.
Rules also suck big time and leave no space for the creative to think outside the box.
My interest in being a great artist had left me to also be unoriginal and crippled by the distractions and excess nonsense that I was filling my life up with. I was crippled by the overabundance of delusional choice. Something had to change.
Once I decided to give up the dream that there was a formula for creating, I found myself on the other side of the spectrum. Exploring Freedom. Exploring Unlimited Choices. Exploring unlimited amount of materials, supplies, and tools. I found myself lost inside the multitude of projects.
At one point, I was working on a 365 days art project, building a dream catcher business, growing a baby in my belly, reorganizing my life, so the baby would have a nice life, finishing up a double major in professional writing and psychology, and on top of all of that, trying to write poems too.
Freedom was defined for me by having it all. Being able to do it all and giving zero shits about anything else. I was exhausted. My money was exhausted. My husband was exhausted. Everything around me was exhausted. Something had to change, again!
The Western World defines freedom as the choice to have unlimited potential and as someone who lives in the western world, I have noticed that there is always opportunity and time to do something productive. Your boss, your friends, your family, they will always be looking to you to get something done. Production is the foundation of our promise to you and your manifest destiny. For each of us to flourish as businesses or families because we work hard for our dreams. And that’s fine, but something has got to give.
That’s when I realized that although, we have unlimited potential to do literally anything we want to do and grow and create, we also need to put limitations on how we want to do that.
We as humans need restrictions. And I don’t mean rules. I mean boundaries. How we are going to respond to different lessons in our life and how we are going to respond to all the opportunities that might come our way. How do we want to build our whole selves? How do we want to live?
After all, living as a human, you are living as a creative.
So, I decided to put away some of the projects. I finished up school and graduated. I let go of the dream catcher business and I spent as much time as I could building a relationship with my daughter.
Those things that I focused my creative energy on have allowed me to grow in ways that I could have never imagined. And they have exponentially helped my creative projects be original and awesome.
My studio makes sense for once. It has a theme to it, and I am growing and building my creative projects and they are original and dynamic. They take time, but the time I have allotted is allowing for there to be just as much laziness as there is productiveness. I am taking naps and having fun in between the creative projects. I am working on my book and my paintings.
I am growing as a person.
Creativity does not need freedom and it doesn’t need rules either. Creativity needs boundaries and love. It needs authenticity and beauty. It needs commitment and space. It will eat you alive and spit you out new or it will hold your hand and teach you how to walk.
You don’t have to have a lot going on to be free, independent, and creative. You just have to be committed to it. <3
What do you think is the dynamic between creativity and independence?