Let's be honest, creativity is inherently vulnerable. It asks so much of us, and no results are guaranteed. We create from our sweat, blood, and tears, pouring ourselves and our souls into our work, and then we show it to the world... unsure of how it will be received.
That is why so many of us shy away from stepping into our creative selves. We are afraid of what others will think. We are afraid of judgement.
Until recently, I'd been denying one of my deepest creative dreams because it felt way too vulnerable. I had to challenge myself to say it out loud: What badass thing would I love to do if I wasn't worried about resources or what anyone else would think of me? I wanted to make a music video.
It was scary to own that! It didn't feel comfortable. It might make me feel too exposed.
Creativity is a path that requires a kind of "thick skin" – an ability to let things roll off your shoulders... to try again, to do it anyway. Being a true creative means not hiding within your zone of comfort. So, I made a music video.
I'm all about testing the edges of our creative comfort zones, because that's how we grow. If you feel like you haven't really tapped into that creative source, here are five tips that I have found helpful on my own journey:
1. Let yourself explore a highly personalized or dark theme
Not all art is rainbows and butterflies. Art expresses the subconscious – the inner workings of the psyche. If it's weird and dark, let it out! If you have a strange obsession with your ancestor's bones (like me), then follow it.
2. Show a friend or family member you trust
It begins with one friend or family member. Pull them aside, and show them what you are working on. Unhook from their praise or criticism. What's important here is your vulnerability, not what they actually say about the piece. Practice showing your work and taking feedback with a grain of salt.
3. Organize a small exhibition, show, performance, or unveiling
The days of being "picked" are over. We used to believe Oprah would one day pick us to be on her show, or pick us to be featured in her book club. But now we live in a time when we must pick ourselves, which means creating your *own* seat to teach or stage to perform. No one else will do it for you. A true act of self-love. Pick yourself.
4. Put it online or give it a website
With website-building tools, and social media platforms like Instagram, there's no excuse for not showing your work.
5. See if you can sell
Etsy, anyone? Push your boundaries by testing whether you can sell something you've made. Would someone pay for what you have to offer? It shouldn't be the motivation behind the creative work, but I do find that it helps us see what's possible from a livelihood point-of-view. Could we earn some income doing this work? There's no harm in trying.
I'm curious – what is one specific step you can take to stretch your creative comfort zone? Comment below in this post.
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Photo by Richie Bulan