In order to suffer the slings and arrows which are an inevitable part of embracing your creativity, it’s a good idea to love your creativity first. I’m talking about a very specific kind of love here. What I’m not talking about is the kind of desperate, dysfunctional love where your creative ideas are so dear to you that you’re crushed if someone doesn’t love them as much as you do. The love I am talking about is where, like a good parent, you’ve put all of your experience and effort into creating a solid, well-adjusted child and you feel confident putting them out into the world no matter what anyone else says. I realize this kind of confidence/love won’t come right away and seeking out constructive criticism from more experienced creatives is a very useful part of your process. However, in the end, creativity is subjective and the most important opinion is yours. Below are three good reasons why loving your creativity can be a huge asset when it comes to growing your creative practice.
1. It Maintains Your Motivation
Creativity is hard work and requires a great deal of willpower and dedication. In the best of circumstances, it’s a tall order to motivate yourself to create something from nothing. If you don’t feel good about your work or you’re too easily discouraged by a less-than-glowing comment, it’s twice as hard to get up the courage to dig in. Regarding negative comments, you have to be thick-skinned. Very few non-creatives can appreciate what it takes to put something of yourself into your work so don’t let a thoughtless or uninformed comment discourage you or shake your belief. And, too, negative or even mean-spirited critiques from seasoned, successful creatives should be taken with a grain of salt. In the end, they’re only opinions and, as I mentioned above, it’s your opinion that matters most.
2. It Helps You Spread The Word
When it comes to the unromantic, soul-sucking work of pitching your creative ideas for various opportunities, loving what you’re “selling” is a huge help. The more confident you are about your work, the easier it will be to get up every day and subject your ideas (and yourself) to the whims of the outside world. If you only love your creative work when someone else loves it, that means you won’t believe in it if someone says it’s not for them. The world is full of stories of successful creative people who were told “no” over and over again. What if they’d listened? Loving your creativity gives you the courage to try again when your work is passed over for a given opportunity.
3. Confidence Is Contagious
Loving your creativity and being confident in it works on many levels. As I mentioned above, if you love what you’re doing, you’re more likely to keep doing it. But, more importantly, confidence is something people can detect in a million small ways from your body language in a pitch meeting to what words you choose when you’re submitting your work for an opportunity. In other words, if you love your creativity, people will be able to tell and they’ll be more likely to love it, too. This explains, in large part, why your first creative “success” is the hardest to get. It’s easier to believe in – love – your work once you’ve gotten some outside affirmation. That being said, it really does begin with you loving your own ideas first.
Be patient. The kind of love I’ve been talking about is not something that happens overnight. It comes from putting in the countless hours necessary to perfect your ideas, incorporating others’ suggestions that make sense to you and ignoring the ones that don’t. Once you’ve done all that, loving your creativity, in a quietly confident way, will make your work – and your life – more fulfilling.
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