“I’m not like normal artists,” she said.
It was my free telephone chat, and the caller was sure her way of being was… different.
“I don’t sit outside and draw every day. I don’t even want to.”
It made me wonder, what is a “normal artist” anyway? The caller clearly seemed to think it was someone who did their art every day. Was maybe driven to do it every day. Compelled.
But is that really what makes an artist “normal”?
Do you have to do your art or creative thing every day to be a Real Artist (Real Writer / Real Whatever)?
A lot of the brilliant, creative people I work with come to me because they wish they were doing their creative thing more than they are.
They dream of doing their art every day, but can’t seem to make it happen. Resistance gets in the way. Their own, personal Sticking Points throw up walls in front of them, and my job is to use my X-Ray Vision Goggles to find the doorways in those walls and help them through. Back to that creative passion that fills them with joy simply by doing it.
My invitation for folks like this is to take my 15 Minutes a Day creative challenge for a month, say, or even a couple of weeks. To notice what changes for them when they commit to doing even a little bit of their creative thing every day.
In my experience, which is also reflected back to me by my clients, Creative Ignition Circle members and Creative Ignition Club members, the very act of carving out sacred time every day — even for just a few minutes (believe it or not!) — keeps your creative thing “front of mind,” and your toe in the Creative Stream.
I (and my clients, Circle members and Club members report the same) find myself thinking about my art throughout the day, fully engaged with it in a way that doesn’t happen for me with, say, a single hour and 45-minute session once a week (which is what 15 minutes a day adds up to). Ideas flow. Energy lifts.
There’s something about just showing up every day that settles the spirit and helps neutralize the Resistance.
But does this mean you have to have a daily practice? Are you somehow not a “proper artist” if you don’t?
Are you ready for my official answer?
Of course not!
Laureen, an alum of my Creative Ignition Circle and a current member of my Creative Ignition Club, maintains a 4-day-per-week studio practice, showing up at the art gallery she runs in Saskatchewan by 9:30 or 10:00am, and painting at her easel for a good 2 hours or more until the gallery opens to the public.
My friend and fellow artist/coach, Michele Théberge, has a similar schedule — last I checked, she was in her studio 4 days a week.
Other artists I know do their creative thing every other day, or on some other schedule.
If you’re one of the bliss-diverse, like me — what I call a Passion Pluralite (also known as a Scanner, Renaissance Soul, or Multi-Passionate) — with multiple creative passions, you may find the ideal practice for you shifts like the tides.
Here’s how it works for me:
In “normal life” mode, on an ideal day, I’ll spend the first 20-60 minutes of my day sitting up in bed with my journal, indulging my writing passion. Then I’ll play my ukulele for another 15 to 30 minutes or so, after which I’ll head into my studio and play in the Creative Sandbox with inks and paint, working on my ArtSpark art.
The rest of the day is “work” work: email correspondence, working on my websites, working on new work projects, fulfilling client orders, phone calls with coaching clients and group coaching calls, scanning and processing art for my ArtSpark newsletter. Plus usually a break for yoga or a walk or throwing the football with my sweetie.
After dinner I’m usually back at work. (I find late at night to be a super-productive time for me.)
That’s an ideal, normal day — right now. I love having a regular connection with each of my main creative passions — it makes me happy, and keeps me feeling balanced.
Is that how every day goes? God no! But it’s my Ideal Daily Template, a target I aim for and feel especially pleased when I hit.
And sometimes, when the Creative Obsession Bug bites, when I’m in the middle of an intense project — like creating and launching my Creative Ignition Club and Kit — all of this goes out the window. (Well, not literally. I would never throw my uke out the window. That would be stupid.)
I might poke my head out of the Creative Obsession Cave for a few minutes here or there to play a tune, or splash some paint, but a daily practice? Ha!
And then there’s this: as a Passion Pluralite, the focus of my creative passion shifts around. Bliss evolves, as I like to say, and the trick is to keep following it.
That means that if my guitar is calling to me more loudly than my ukulele, I might spend my time with it and put my uke aside for a few days or weeks or months. And if I get jazzed about a project using textiles, my paintbrushes may sit neglected for several weeks while I play with my sewing machine.
Ultimately, for me, I’m happiest when I keep my toe in the Creative Stream by doing something that exercises my creative expression every day, though what that is almost doesn’t matter.
You might be different.
The important thing is to know yourself well enough to know what works for you.
After all, there are no creativity police who are going to cart you away for not “doing it right.” Oh, there are plenty of people who will tell you there’s a Right Way (theirs, of course). But it’s not true.
The only real rule is this:
Whatever works for you is right. Period.
So if, like my caller the other day, you feel like you’re “not like normal artists,” relax. Rest assured that as long as you’re doing what feeds your own soul, your “abnormal” way of being is just fine.
In fact, it’s the perfect way for you to be.
Tell me, what is your normal? What your Ideal Template (daily or not) for keeping your toe in the Creative Stream? Share in the comments below.
PS – Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!