Tools For Creative Artists

by | May 26, 2020

Do you struggle with creating consistent structure and reasonable routine so that you are more productive in your life as an artist? Most creative people know that they should, but they don’t know how. Whether you’ve established yourself already as a working artist- an actor, writer, musician, dancer, painter etc., or are ready to step into your creative career, this blog is for you!

One thing creative people need to know is: to not look outside of ourselves for validation whether it’s with your writing, painting, music or acting, or any other creative endeavor. And, at the same time, when that positive feedback comes along and when opportunity arrives, you’ll want to be ready, and be able to receive it!

Often, the biggest challenge creative artists face is with making that commitment to a reasonable routine in order to support their artistic practice. There are so many reasons that having a supportive routine is important for you and will benefit you. For many artists, your body is your instrument. As it is for an actor, or a musician, for example: consider the fact that you can learn to focus on creating a routine where the things that you are doing are fundamentally supporting you and building you up. So, engaging those things that we know will do that or have the capacity to do that. For example, engaging in what I like to call the fundamentals: that’s a healthy sleep cycle, a healthy balanced diet that enables you to keep the fuel in your system balanced and therefore regulate anxiety for some of you who are prone to that. Or, engaging stress management tools such as a breathing exercise anytime you feel stress or anxiety. What a great opportunity for you to connect into your power, your value, through writing or acting, or through whatever your artistic practice is by being committed and consistent with a structure, knowing where those windows of time are on your schedule for spontaneity, work for your art. Because this is about learning to commit to it more effortlessly and effectively.

So, being consistent with these fundamentals is key to your success, not mention your health and well-being.  We can perhaps get away with that structureless approach of having no set artistic practice early on in our career or, for a brief period of time, but what about now, as you are pursuing your art as your career? Time and time again, I have found in my own practice in working with artists that the real root of this block to a consistent artistic practice, with a schedule and a reasonable routine, is self-doubt, doubt in your ability or in your talent. And, in not being free enough to allow your creativity to come through, because doubt becomes the insulator that insulates us from it. The only way to see what blocks are there and what they are about- is to face them, build awareness, and engage tools that can connect you back into the truth, an empowered truth. Engage this reasonable routine and give it one week, see how you can actually create more quality time for spontaneity. Once you have scheduled the important things in your life that must get completed, just think how much more rewarding time spent in your garden, for example, or, with loved ones will be once you have that empowered sense of accomplishment from your creative work in a meaningful way with a plan to publish or, exhibit your work.

Engaging a structure can pull you out of sabotage mode because, by not having structure you might choose to do something unrelated to your creativity because you are blocking it and therefore you’re not moving forward and becoming more confident and effective at creating your art. In the book by Melissa Donovan,  “Adventures in writing, 10 core practices for better writing,” the author shares valuable insight into the destructive myths about creativity that persist for writers and within the writing process. Donovan states, “Some people believe that creativity makes a divine appearance only when they are supposed to create, and the rest of the time, they shouldn’t bother.” In that myth of having no routine, we see artists relying on “divine” inspiration. The college screenwriting class comes to mind or, the truly bad habits of some beat poets touted as the myths of suffering or the need for misery in order to create. Many writers for example, have had those marathon writing sessions that were most likely motivated by a looming deadline that eventually bore fruit. But deep down you know the quality of that at least on some level is less than what you are truly capable of. And consider the impact that has on other aspects of your life such as relationships, or to your basic health and the quality of your sleep, perhaps.

Crediting our sense of free will, Donovan asserts, “We can learn to control our own creativity.” I was struck by this quote because, when you consider a subconscious therapy like hypnosis, and you understand that hypnosis is a learning state, you realize you can affect in a positive way, these associative learnings and therefore begin to learn and unlearn. Specifically, the conflicts that we experience, or the “blocks” exist in this other, deeper part of the mind that we are able to access through hypnosis. Let’s take a deeper look at what you can do to go about changing these learned habits and limiting beliefs that block you from your true creative flow. These are limiting beliefs and ideas that you learned at a certain point in your life and from your subconscious mind, and this is what may be keeping you locked up from your full creative potential and recognizing your value as an artist. You learned those ways of thinking and feeling, those limitations, and you can unlearn them. So, with the conscious understanding, now you can work to resolve the potential blocks that exist on the subconscious level where the new consistency and schedule becomes your new habit. And, as Donovan so aptly states, “The truths about creativity are far more interesting and useful than the myths.” The truth is, that creativity can be a habit and learning to control that habit becomes your empowerment.

Part of creating new habits is setting new intentions. You can even set an intention for kindness where your internal thoughts go from overly perfectionistic and critical to a kinder and more reasonable tone. I like to do intentional writing in the mornings to set up myself up for success for the day. An example intention might be: “I am setting a clear, positive and empowered intention to break old cycles and step into a calm energized and empowered life.” You could base this writing on the myths you may want to replace. If you have the “starving artist” myth or, “tales of suffering and tragedy” –those are limiting beliefs. A replacement intention might be: “I step into prosperity and physical and emotional and financial health and abundance and well-being.” And some experts suggest that writing in cursive has greater neurologic effects and therefore, greater effect at that relearning in the mind.

So, back to this idea of validation for your artistic craft:  feedback about your creative work is important and ultimately you need to validate yourself. This is sometimes hard. I simply can’t imagine a better way to do that than by building this satisfaction from a consistent engagement with your artistic practice, with routine. This is the gauge, the measure and the accountability. This is the way to be ultimately, consistently successful. Or, to build momentum and not have this one foot in, one foot out.

And honestly, at the heart of  all of this is just about mattering- “I matter, my voice matters, my feelings matter, my needs matter and my art matters.” Artists in general tend to not give enough credit to what they do because it’s a subjective validation and not an objective one. I personally was able to connect with this by engaging a “morning routine.” The moment my eyes open, I do a meditation to reset my mind. Then, it’s time to empty the doggies. Next, I engage the morning intention setting through journaling that is focused on patterns I want to change. Many health experts consider journaling to be a tool to help with mood as well as to help manage stress and depression. This creates better productivity, increases focus and ultimately positive results. My routine continues with some exercise, breakfast, and at my desk by 9:30 am in order to write. Through this consistent engagement with a morning routine, I was able to very quickly connect with this felt sense that I matter in this powerful way. I guess that’s why they call it empowerment.

If you would like to learn more about the mind and this potential for change, feel free to contact me about private sessions or group seminars to address your specific needs.