5 Vows Every Creative Person Should Make
Sometimes I learn something really super important and then totally forget it and quit practicing it all together.
That’s why I thought of communicating these as vows. I think they are so important, they should be written on our hearts! Without further ado, here we go:
1. Vow to Be Authentic
Authenticity is such a buzzword that it’s nearly laughable.
However, rather than dispose of it on these grounds, I say we elevate it.
I would propose that it’s unrivaled height of buzzwordiness is due to how desperate we are right now for truth and honesty.
For years advertising has tried to pull fast ones on all of us, thousands of times a day. Over time we all developed extremely accurate BS detectors. This is just one of the reasons we long for authenticity.
If your plan is to pretend to love something you don’t, to get in on trends you don’t care about or earn an easy buck, forget about it. The creative world is not for you.
You have to actually care.
If you don’t care they will see it.
Who will care about your creation if you don’t?
2. Vow to Do What it Takes to not Compromise
If you rely solely on your work for sustenance, and your work isn’t cutting it, the only answer is to compromise. When you scramble you make decisions out of desperation.
Decisions in desperation are very different than decisions due to inspiration.
If it’s not working, get a side job until it does. Take the pressure off. Your best work is going to come from a place of interest and passion. Not from trying to make rent.
There are exceptions to this. Some people thrive under pressure, but the truth is you know where, when and why you compromise in your creative work.
Get out of those situations.
3. Vow to Never Stop Growing
When I first graduated I was lucky enough to get featured by a few great online publications and it helped kickstart my career (thanks Pitchfork, BOOOOOOOM, The Fox is Black and It’s Nice That! I couldn’t have done it without you!). And even though at the time I probably wanted my work to really ‘blow up’, I’m actually really glad that it didn’t get toocrazy.
If it had, I don’t think I would have been so intentional about pushing myself and developing my practice. I’ve seen people whose work blew up and that’s all any client seems to want from them.
If I was still doing what I was doing 5 years ago I’d be miserable. I hate doing what I was doing 6 months ago!
If you don’t grow your work you will miss out on one of the greatest pleasures of doing creative work: seeing yourself create things you never thought you could.
4. Vow to Make Something Everyday
Alright, maybe take weekends and vacations, but beside that, you need to make stuff.
Doing my daily NOD project, where I created a new character every weekday for year, really solidified this idea in my mind. I realized that it was essential to my well being and my growth as an artist. Taking too much time off from creating is regression. When it comes to creative pursuits, if you’re not growing you’re shrinking.
I feel like we refer to Will Bryant’s classic quote “I Make Stuff Because I Get Sad if I Don’t” quote every week, but it’s just that brilliant!
5. Vow to Do the Work
This one directly relates to the above vow but it’s also different.
After reading this amazing Great Discontent interview with James Victore I took his lead and looked into Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art. Pressfield also had a follow up book called Do the Work. These books were about what he calls the “Resistance”.
In my understanding the “Resistance” is that thing that keeps you from doing what you were put on this earth to create. The thing that makes you start late. The thing that keeps you not making. The thing that makes you procrastinate.
The only thing that counts is stuff you actually did. Quit worrying about how no one will care, quit being afraid of what they will think, quit putting it off til tomorrow. Do the work! Take 4 hours and work on “your thing”, then repeat.
I really do believe in these things and I hope writing this helps me practice these things better myself!
A side note for the Art Directions community: I do Art Directions because I am passionate about sharing the things I am learning about following your creative path. Even more than blogging, I love talking face to face with people about their creative problems. So I am offering a skype video chat consulting session with anyone who feels stuck trying to go to the next level in their creative path. I realize this might be new concept for many people, but I believe I can add value and I know that I am passionate about doing so. So for now I will be doing 1 hour skype video chats, on a pay-what-you-think-it-was-worth basis when the skype chat is over. No questions asked. During these skype chats we will focus on ways of getting through your current roadblocks, and also answer any questions you have. For more info, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org P.S. I’m really goofy and not scary.
Lastly, what vow am I missing?