Here’s a cold, hard fact about creating: No one is going to care about your art project as much as you do. Let me add to that, no one is going to care about your project as much as you do unless you are paying them. When money is involved, you will find people who will help you out. Now this is a fact, yes, but it should never be a roadblock to your creative pursuits. It’s just going to make things a little bit harder to keep going.
No one is going to care as much as you do and that is fine. That’s the way it works. If you are creative and have creative friends, I’m sure you think their ideas are amazing, but they aren’t as important to you as your own ideas.
While Dr. Floyd was a creative idea that was created between two people, myself and Doug, in the end there was really only one of us who wanted it to keep going. The other person felt we had put several great years into the project but, besides coming close to a TV deal, it hadn’t really bore any prospect of becoming something that would make money and that created a bit of a rift between us and we went our separate ways. It just wasn’t as important to the other person.
For some creative artists (painters, writers, etc.), practicing their art is a solo activity, so not having other people around to lend a hand is fine. But for some other creators (podcast producers, filmmakers, etc.) you need other people around to help make your dream come to life. But even though the fact that no one else cares as much as you do exists, you can still make progress on your creative projects, even if you need friends to help you carry them out.
One way to get people to help you is to barter. You’ll help them create on their art and they will help you create yours.
I’ve found this the most effective way to get help on a project. I’ll offer to make a website for someone or help them film a video. In exchange, they’ll help me on my project. Just make sure that when you are helping with their project to put as much time and care into it as you’ll want them to put into yours. I find it’s always fun to help people make their creative ideas come true and, hopefully, people find it fun working on mine.
Warning though, some people are takers. That’s just the way it is. You’ll help them but you’ll get excuse after excuse when the time comes for them to help you. At least you’ll be comforted to know that you aren’t like them and you are willing to help out a friend. Sad, but that’s the way it is.
I don’t mean to make it sound all doom and gloom though. One very good way to get people to help you on your creative project is just to ask. A lot of times they’ll say yes. Or offer lunch. That’s a good one too. My office in Burbank is right across the street from a very popular cuban place called Porto’s. I’ve had many a recording session that either begins or ends over at Portos and I always attempt to pay, especially if they’ve just recorded some dialogue or done some puppets for me.
When you need help on a creative project, how do you go about getting it? Let me know in the comments below.
Keep your creative plans secret until they are completed.
This is a tough one and, though I believe in it and will explain why, it is a hard one for me to do.
The main reason you should attempt to keep your creative plans secret until you have completed them is because if you tell them to other people they will, no matter how well meaning they are, offer their opinion on your plans. You will get no end to unsolicited feedback on your idea.
“That’s a great idea!” they’ll inevitably start, but then they’ll continue, “You know what you should do…”
Now if the sentence above is coming from someone you admire or respect or whom you are asking for advice, that’s fine. If you admire or respect them or asked for their advice, that’s great, listen to their suggestions. Remember, though, these are suggestions.
The focus of this entry is about telling friends, peers, family about your plans. These folks like (love) and respect you and they think they’ll be helping you out by offering their advice. What happens then is that once you begin creating your art, the ‘advice’ that these people starts creeping into your head and you begin second guessing yourself.
“Maybe so and so was right. Maybe I should do it their way instead of the way I had planned.”
This becomes dangerous because suddenly the your art is not your own. It has become a community project. Nothing against community projects, they are great, but this is YOUR art project.
This is the number one reason I try to keep my ideas to myself. Notice I say try. It’s extremely hard to do. The main reason for blabbing is I get really excited about an idea and I want to share it with the world. I need to realize that it’ll be much better (and save me much second guessing) if I tell people after it’s done. Or better yet, show them. Writers often say ‘show don’t tell.’ I think that’s a great bit of advice that all artists can take about their own work. Get it done and THEN show somebody.
Another reason to keep mum about a project is because sometimes I talk so much about a project I never really get around to actually working on it. I know it sounds weird, but there’s something in the brain that will trick you into thinking, “Well I’ve talked about it so much, I must have done it.” When, in actuality, you haven’t done anything. Almost as if a little bit of the creative desire in you escapes each time you say something about it until you have no creative desire left to work on the project.
Finally, there is the thought of sharing your ideas with others before you do them and then someone steals your idea. I don’t think this happens as much as people are afraid it does, but it does happen, so it’s another good reason to just keep quiet about your project.
As artists, our main drive in life is to create something and then share it with the world. We should just think twice about sharing them before we’ve even begun creating them.
Do you fall into the same pitfalls as me and blab your project to everyone around you? Or do you thrive on getting other people’s opinions about your project? Let me know in the comments below.
Someone once told me I needed to ‘put a little more truth’ into my art. This person felt that things going on in my life should be expressed through the things I was creating at that moment. I can see this person’s point. What’s going on in your life can have a heavy influence on your creativity and lead you to new places. The problem was the current things going in my life were fraught with turmoil and my current project was a lighthearted, family friendly affair. Adding the ‘turmoil’ to that project would have been…wrong.
But that comment, ‘put some more truth into your art,’ really got me thinking about things. About putting truth, what’s currently going on in your life, into you art. I think this is a really good thing to do. The art you create should capture your true spirit. Your art should speak the things you feel deep down inside. The things that, maybe , you are afraid to say out loud. Your inner truth can make for some amazing art.
However, people should recognize that everybody’s truth is different. It’s not the same for every single person. Two artists would undoubtedly go about tackling the same subject completely differently. If two artists are feeling pain and heartache, one may create a somber piece that clearly defines the pain they are going through because that’s their truth. The other artist might create a darkly comic piece that points out the humor in the bleakest of situation because that’s how they deal with their truth. Two artists, same pain, two different pieces of work.
When I was in college I took a directing course in theatre. The professor was a very accomplished, yet very opinionated, woman. In the class I quickly realized I had a strike against me, I was male. This is not just something I’m saying because of sour grapes. I respected her and her work and was in a play or two of hers while in college and learned a lot. I’m saying because she was the type of woman who would regularly wear a shirt to school that would read (and I’m sorry for my sensitive readers) CL*T POWER. If you were a guy, you had a strike against you.
Anyway, the major class assignment was for each student to direct two other students in the classic ‘water’ scene from The Miracle Worker. If you are familiar with the story this scene is where Annie Sullivan finally gets through to Hellen Keller. As we were instructed to do, we all read the play and were to find our ‘take’ on the text. The ‘water’ scene is a powerful scene in the play and the major turning point and I knew that everyone was going to direct it that standard way it is written. Serious. Powerful. Stoic. Well, I wanted to find a different take and, as I do in most of my creative endeavors, I wanted to add some humor. Then it hit me, “Laughter can build bridges.” What if Annie could get Hellen to laugh and THAT’s what creates the breakthrough?
So that’s how I did it. Super big shout out to my actors in that scene (John & Kristin) who went with everything I put them through. I blocked a raucous scene involving climbing under and over the table, silverware flying and a dutch door that was the cause to much consternation to poor Hellen. When we did the scene for the final project it killed. I have several ideas as to why it killed. One, the amazing actors. Two, it was different. It was different from every other one of the same exact scenes because it was a different truth. The other scenes were fine. They told passionate, dramatic versions of the same story. They were one truth. Mine was another truth. Mine was MY truth.
The professor wound up giving me a B+ on the scene. Why? Who knows? I believe it was because she felt I didn’t take the material ‘seriously.’ I will tell you this, I’ve never forgotten how fun that was to do, because I was bringing my truth to the project.
So bring your truth to your creative work and never apologize for it. If someone tells you to put more truth in your art, ignore them. Your truth is not theirs. Putting your truth in your art is all that matters.
Are you someone who brings their truth to their project? What one creative thing can you point to right now and say, “That has a lot of my truth in it.” If you are comfortable with sharing, let us know in the comments below!
We are all busy.
That’s just the way life is. We’ve got work, we’ve got family, we’ve got a million other obligations pulling us in a million different directions. So the statement is usually, “I just simply don’t have time to create.”
The thing is, you do.
There’s plenty of time to do so if you just create a little bit each day.
Notice the words ‘little bit’ in that last sentence? Those are key. You need to realize that you aren’t going to write the next Great American Novel of paint the next Mona Lisa in a day. Things like that take time. Lots of time. But there are ‘little bits’ of time each day where you can create and if you are able to get yourself to do that every day, those little things will build up into big things.
A year or so ago I made a commitment to myself to do at least one creative thing a day, no matter how big or small. Some days the creative thing is just some sketches on the Paper app on my iPad. Sometimes the creative thing is some writing on a script or one of my novellas that I never get around to editing. Sometimes the creative thing is a stand up show. The point is that I wake up each morning and say to myself, “Today I’m going to do at least one thing that is creative no matter how small.” And I’ve found that if I do that, I get it done.
Some days, I get a whole day to work on creative projects. Mostly though, I’m taking time out before bed or early in the morning to work on creative projects. The thing is, stuff gets done. There’s that old saying, “Slow and steady wins the race.” It’s true. If you work on your creative project a tiny bit each day, eventually it’ll get done.
Writing two hundred and fifty words a day, every day, for a year is ninety one thousand two hundred and fifty words a year. That’s a novel right there folks. You’ve just written a novel in a year.
You are going to discover that I usually look at things from a writer’s standpoint. Writing two hundred and fifty words takes me about 20 minutes or so (I never said they were good words). Looking at other disciplines, what if you painted for twenty minutes each day? Or practiced piano for twenty minutes a day? That’s seven thousand three hundred minutes a year. One hundred twenty one hours (and some change) a year. What could you create in that time?
I completely understand that you may not have twenty minutes a day. How about ten? How about five?
Maybe one day it’s ten minutes and another day it’s twenty. It doesn’t matter. Little, by little, it will get it done. You will create
And that’s not even the best part. Imagine how good you’ll feel when you commit to creating each and every day. Knowing that your art, your passion, is getting done and you’re keeping your creativity alive.
Start tomorrow. Or today, if there’s time left. Plan out when you’re going to steal away for that twenty (or ten, or five) minutes and then…
This week I want you to try and challenge yourself to work on your create project a little each day. Even if it’s five or ten minutes, find some time each day to work in a little creative fun. How did it go? Were you able to do it? Let me know in the comments below.