We’re happy to welcome back A. L. Michael for another guest post today. Andi is currently writing her next novel (due to be published soon) and is also teaching workshops on Writing for Wellbeing. If you’re in London she has a workshop coming up on Saturday 26 April. Check out all the details here
Is Your Creative Work Making You Feel Good?
As creative entrepreneurs, we’re focused on how our art should be helping us to survive, and how we can adapt and work to make that happen. But along the way, it’s easy to forget what the primary purpose of our art was- to fulfil us and make us happy.
If we’re adapting our art so much that it’s making money, but we feel a little ashamed of it, then it’s time to refocus. Or at least make space for the art that makes you feel good again.
Adapting is part of the creative entrepreneur’s skillset- it has to be. Creating a brief for a client, acting a part a certain way, taking a leap and trying for something you’re not even sure you’re going to be good at. Risk-taking is key. But when you’re getting to the point where your artistic work starts to feel the same drag as a nine-to-five, then maybe it’s time to reconsider where your art is going.
Do I mean quit this job, or ignore opportunities? No. Sometimes you’re going to do tasks, creative or not, that you don’t particularly enjoy, and it’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to do them. What I’m talking about is finding a space for your art to flourish for you again, to find your message, your medium, your passion, and do it for you, not for the money.
Some people argue that being paid for art ruins ‘the art of it all’, and to be perfectly honest, I think that’s ridiculous. Artists deserve to get paid for what they do. However, there is a kernel of truth in that the daily slog that comes along with creativity can deplete it. How often have you spent hours on blog posts, networking, twitter, researching, marketing and talking to people about projects, and then realising that the art itself isn’t getting done? A lot of that is about time management and determination, but have you thought about the effect not creating has on you?
I know that when I don’t write, I get tetchy and stressed. I feel pointless, like I’m ignoring my primary function. And what stops me writing? Not allowing the space for new ideas. Not sitting down and relaxing, not turning off the computer, stepping away from the marketing side, and remembering how to create for myself. We have to remember, it’s not only us making use of our talents, but our talents making use of us. If I was to get a little hippie about it, I’d say we were the conduit, but either way, we have to remember that creating (or not creating) has an effect on us. And if you’re feeling worn down, feeling like your work is pointless, or not truly reflecting who you are, well that’s going to have an effect.
I don’t suggest turning down work, or stopping, or giving up. I’d suggest taking some time to do your creative work for you, working for joy. Doing it like you used to before it was a job, and before it was for someone else.
Andi Michael is a writer and creative therapeutic facilitator. She’s currently running workshop in Writing for Wellbeing in North London. The first workshop is on Saturday 26th April in Barnet, and is focused on using writing to get inspired, appreciate yourself and your work, and boost confidence.