Creativity takes courage
~ Henri Matisse
When it comes to being courageous, in private I have scaled mountains…
My teens were hampered by ill health (long story), but it was the M.E. in my twenties that was to change the course of my life again. The illness left me quite debilitated (I couldn’t brush my hair without feeling like I’d lifted weights), however, it did give back, it gave me creativity.
I had time you see, years of it in fact. And leaving aside the mental torture that a debilitating illness can inflict, I latched on to writing, drawing, and later painting, like it was saving me from drowning, which I guess, in a way, it did. There was an abundance of arty TV programmes ‘back then’ and I devoured all I could from them and the books that followed ~ oh, to have had Youtube.
M.E. is mostly, even now, a thorn in my side, but I have a lot to thank it for too. My life may read like I’m one of Jane Austen’s sickly minor characters than one of her feisty heroines, but it’s mine, my path and I’ve learnt and grown a lot from it. I feel I'm not too shabby in the art department and my writing seems to please… So, what’s the problem?
… in public my lack of creative courage has me slowly ambling up foothills, and stopping for a cuppa half way up.
I am a highly creative person, I know this about myself, and I've embraced it ~ perhaps a little too tightly. I've had creative freedom for years, I've not had anyone else to please, and while that's awesome, you do get to the point when you reach a fork in the road. Do I start building towards creative goals? Or do I keep my creativity as a private passion? I found myself wanting the former. I’m in a good position now to ‘do something’ ~ cue courage going into hiding.
Be Committed? M.E. permitting - I could do that.
Got enough Ideas? I have those in abundance.
Implementation? Sure, how hard could it be? (This I was a tad naive about - short answer: it can be hard.)
Share your work with the others; put your work out there? Hang-on... Show other people?
I am a creative magpie, an ideas machine and a complete wuss!
Hence, why I've tried blogging and given up; tried finishing a novel and given up; tried selling art work and given up... did I give up because I failed - nope. I got readers for my first blog, won and was short listed for my writing, and actually sold some of my art. Yep, I don't know why I gave up either.
I probably need counselling.
I know I need to listen to Matisse; I need to accept that creativity takes courage. Courage to start. Courage to learn. Courage to do. Courage to share. Courage to fail. And Courage to succeed.
This is not a one time deal either. It will always take courage - true creative freedom is when you know this, and be creative anyway.
So, I've started blogging again, started writing again and started being all arty-farty again too.
Do you find it easy to be courageous in your creativity? If so, I applaud you (really, I do), please share your wisdom in the comments. If not, it would be great to hear your story and how you deal with it x
Here's to being Courageous - again.
2019 UPDATE: This may read like I’ve got it all sorted - only way is up for me now - but the truth, is it’s been nearly a year since I wrote this and I’m still ambling. Courage is hard, sometimes it’ll be my friend, pushing me along like a warm breeze, but other times, times when my inner critic is loud and unfeeling, or life gets in the way, courage abandons me and I feel like I’m walking into a gale force.
So, what’s the answer?
When we realise this is happening, or happened, that’s when we need to remember - don’t give up, you haven’t failed until you give up, keep trying. It’s ok to take a break, refuel your ‘creative well’, but find your courage again ~ because, and this is the tough part, no one can give it to you. Sure, encouragement will give us a boost; compliments will bolster our determination, but only you can give yourself courage. What’s working for me? Telling myself every morning (yep, every morning) - “I have something to say, I have a gift that deserves to be shared and not hidden, don’t let doubt tell you otherwise.” Here’s to finding courage, Cath x