There comes a time when we have to make a big decision with our creativity....whether or not to share it. I have noticed this is a big issue for many people in creative recovery....I hear a lot of people rationalizing why they don't share their work.
But in the back of many people's minds is really, "I don't feel confident about sharing my work." Or "people are going to trash it." And of course, "my work doesn't look as good as. so and so's."
Gaining the confidence to share your work is a process that takes time and patience. I always tell people to be gentle with yourself with this and to trust your intuition as to when and how you will share your creativity. But once you gain the courage to share your work, you will find that it will be one of the most rewarding and freeing feelings that you will ever experience.
It took another artist friend poking me ever so often to share my work. I was more known as an art curator than an artist at the time, and didn't feel confident putting my work next to the beautifully talented artists that I worked with in exhibitions. My friend and I were co-curatoring an exhibition at a coffee shop in Baltimore, Maryland and she encouraged me to make something for the show. I did and it was a proud moment for me to place it on the wall and place a label beside it. After that, I had the courage to submit my work in a few exhibitions and next thing I knew, I was exhibiting regularly as an artist. When I first sold my first art piece, I really gain more confidence to create more work for exhibitions. Even today, after over ten years of exhibiting my work, I get just as excited as I did with my first sale.
But how do you get there? Here's a few tips that may help you move from hiding your work to getting it all out there.
In conclusion, I thought I would share the following advice that appeared on on a blog featured on Life Hacker on the topic of sharing your creativity by Leanne Regalla, a Freelance writer and content marketer:
Have you recently started sharing your creative work to others? What steps did you take to get the courage to share your work? What would you do differently?
When many of us think of "self-care" we tend to think of activities such as massage, yoga, physical activity, hanging out in nature, sleep, meditation, etc. We don't think much about doing art or some other creative activity as a form of "self-care". But I invite you to think of it in this way.
For me, my creative practice is one of my favorite self-care activities. Of course there is "work" involved, looking at composition, the images, thinking of what I want to convey, etc. But it is my favorite form of work....I get lost in it...I forget about the craziness in the world...my only focus is that art piece. I put on music that soothes my soul, scents that inspires and relaxes me whether it is essential oils or incense and I become one with my art.
A creative practice connects us to another place and a product of this connection is what ever we produce as a result. It is also a stress reliever and can be a way to deal with anxiety. An asociate of mine, who found himself caring for his elderly parents full time, would spend his time either in nature or creating art...using alcohol inks on small tiles, creating the most beautiful abstract pieces. At my last count, he was approaching somewhere between an impressive 80 and over 100 pieces of small abstract art as a result.
In a recent blog article from PsychCentral by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. on this topic included some ways that art and creativity can be utilized as a source of self-care from artist Stephanie Medford and Natalie Foster, LAMFT, ATR, an intuitive mentor and registered art therapist. I share a few from this article below:
"Collage your emotions. Self-care includes acknowledging, honoring and holding space for our emotions. When Medford is stuck on a difficult emotion, she creates a collage about it using old magazines and found papers. She looks for images, colors and shapes that express how she’s feeling. It’s a quick and messy process. Which is the point: These collages “are more about processing the feeling than making ‘art.’” "
"Play with clay. “Clay is a very kinesthetic and grounding media that helps us feel in control when things are not so orderly in the ongoings of our lives,” Foster said. Crayola makes an air-dry clay, or you can get non-drying modeling clay and store it in an air-tight container, she said."
"Draw your mood daily. Medford has a journal that contains pages with 2 x 2 inch squares. Every day she fills in one square expressing her mood that morning. “A big part of working through my anxiety is noticing how it feels in my body, and what images and colors it brings to mind,” Medford said. “Paying close attention to my experience, and drawing what I find, helps me to take some of the power away from the feelings and gives it back to me and my creativity.”
"Tell your story. Foster suggested creating an altered book. For instance, every day or once a week, you decorate the pages in any way you like. You might include important mementos or personal photos. “Over time the right story will come out—whether it’s your whole life story, or the story of your growth in the past year.”
"Write About Your Art. Writing about your art can spark important insights. Foster recommended journaling after you’ve completed a piece or project and then returning to it weeks or months later: “How have you changed since making the piece? How do you still think you need to adapt in order to reflect what you are creating in your life?”
Again, I invite you to explore how art and creativity can connect you to your emotions. What other ways has your creativity has helped to address your own self-care needs? Feel free in the comments below!