Creativity is an act of courage. If it’s not, then nothing of value is being communicated. At least that’s always how I’ve tried to approach my work as a photographer, a musician (in a past life), and a writer. In fact, it’s what convinced me that it was ok to call myself an artist.
That didn’t come easily. I resisted that term for a long time because it sounded lofty, an ideal I couldn’t possibly live up to. But slowly I learned what it really means to be an artist, something I didn’t fully understand before.
I’ve learned that as an artist, what matters most is not how good the art is, but rather that I’m living a creative life. That’s the thing that keeps me going, keeps me inspired, makes me feel I’m using my precious time wisely.
If an artist must create, then that’s what I am, because it’s been the single driving force in my life. What I create changes, evolves, is sometimes fleeting and other times more permanent. But it’s really irrelevant to the act of creating, which is where the drive continuously leads me.
I think that’s why I write, and photograph, and draw, and teach. Each practice opens another door, or leads me further down the unknown path I must explore. But that’s what I enjoy the most—the surprise, the experience, the knowing that I’m doing exactly what I must do—for myself and more importantly for others.
You could say that an artist is someone who has made creativity a habit. What results from the habit is sometimes good, sometimes disappointing. Every once in a while there’s a spark and a creative fire takes hold.
The habit is where we can discover what it means to be an artist. It’s where your purpose is born. Do you have a creative habit?
“Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.” – John Cleese