Wisdom can show up in some strange places. Fortune cookies, billboards, random commercials can all hold philosophical nuggets if we have eyes to see them. I found a nugget like that waiting for me on Facebook not long ago. I was scrolling along, eyeing my news feed with lazy disinterest as the usual string of cat videos, inspirational quotes, and baby pictures slid by under my thumb. One photo caught my attention amid the scrolling:
Yeah, I know, it doesn’t scream, “modern wisdom on the creative practice!” Actually, it screeches anything but modern sensibilities. My inner feminist howled over instructions to fix your hair and powder your nose before starting creative endeavors. I was laughing at the antiquated silliness of it all, until one phrase grabbed my attention: “Good results are difficult when indifference dominates.”
Good results are difficult when indifference dominates.
Amid the trappings of sexism and dated feminine ideals lay a thought that applies to all forms of creative practice, regardless of gender, age, or practice. Lets look at this equation. Good results = creative practice - indifference. What is indifference? Webster’s defines it as “lack of interest in or concern about something.” Synonyms include: disregard, inattention, disinterest, detachment, and carelessness. That paints a pretty unpleasant picture, doesn’t it?
The good people at Singer believed that quality sewing work can’t occur if the person at work is callous or disinterested in themselves or their work. I’ll take their thought a step further: no creative practice of any kind can see good results if indifference is the strongest sentiment of the creator at work. Creativity is an external expression of an internal passion. It’s not a rote act whose results are unchanged by the doer’s feelings. The mindset of the creator will always affect the creative results. Thus, if you want passionate work, you must approach it with a passionate heart.
So, how do you stir yourself to be passionate about your creative work? Since each creative expression is as unique as the creator behind it, I can’t offer a magic bullet solution that will work for everyone. I can offer a few things I’ve learned along the way. First and foremost, believe that your creative work deserves your best. Even if you aren’t a professional artist, your creative practice is still valid and worthy of your time and attention. Invest in your creativity: buy the best quality tools and supplies that you can, take classes to build your skills, and do whatever you can to give your creative practice a place of honor in your life. Once you’ve invested, dedicate real time to your craft. Instead of trying to create in the scrap minutes of your day, block time out of your schedule so that you can give your work the focus it deserves. Speaking of focus, cut out the distractions as much as you can. Turn off your phone, close your door, even leave your house if you must - whatever it takes to help you tuned to the work before you. Last but not least, have fun! Creativity shouldn’t feel like another item on your to-do list - if it does, step away until you can find the joy again.
Are you feeling a little indifferent these days? If so, take a look at your creative practice. Where can you invest in, honor, or find new joy in your creative work? Can you block out time to focus closer, or learn a new skillthat will re-invigorate your work? Maybe you just need to take a break from production until your passions refuel a bit. Whatever you need to do, do it, because the only thing worse than not using your creativity is use it in indifference.
Sarah is the co-founder of Bright Ideas, a designer by trade, and an artist by passionate choice. She was born and raised in South, and delights in sharing Southern culture with anyone who cares to learn. Sarah collects creative hobbies; when she isn’t making art, you can usually find her on the dance floor. Follow her creative adventures on Instagram and Twitter!