Everyone has different gifts and consequently different challenges. It’s good to know what those are. If you just work out your strong muscles over and over again, while ignoring the weak ones, the imbalance will eventually increase to the point that it causes you some sort of injury.
That can apply to the creative work we do, but it’s also true of our capacities in general which affect (create!) our creative lives.
It helps to figure out what your gifts are first, and sometimes they will point to your weaknesses. For example if you’re great at being spontaneous you may be less than great at planning.
I know that one of my gifts is idea generation. My sketchbooks are full of ideas that genuinely interest me, most of which are still at the idea/sketch stage. The problem is I can get overwhelmed at the execution stage... even deciding which to start with!
For this reason one of my objectives this year is to find some people (probably young artists or art students) who would be interested in the experience of assisting a professional artist. (If you know anyone suitable, please let me know!)
Something else I am working on is my creative routine. Routines and schedules have always felt very confining – suffocating even – although they seem necessary if we want to create a bit of healthy balance in our lives.
I decided recently that I needed to find or build systems and routines that support what I want to accomplish, that can help me overcome my weaker areas in ways that work for me.
So, in my somewhat inconsistent, but persistent, way, I have been working on my routine, one aspect of which is that I have a book I read from every morning.
The book I started with, and just finished, is Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind from the folks at 99U (who have a terrific website!). An excellent, well-designed book with contributions from numerous creative luminaries and experts. I know I will leaf through it periodically again, when I need reminders.
I’m going to read books on practice (or habits), creativity and other topics that will help me grow. Do you have any recommendations? If so, please share in the comments below so I or anyone reading this can benefit.
I will let you know in my next post what book I’m starting next.
“We are what
then, is not
an act, but
As a visual artist I like nothing more than getting up to my elbows in paint or little plastic toys, or wading in at the deep end in pursuit of an idea. When I am not teaching others in a similar vein, you can find me researching, writing and noodling around in my studio, seeing where my latest lines of inquiry lead me.
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