the creatives survival guide

I’ve always had a very creative and firey brain, a bit like a smashed avocado. All over the place with a tendency to be a bit messy.

If you’re a creative who has never really learned how to keep up their creativity, it can become possible for your art to become a by-product of your pain, and nothing more.

There are so many types of creatives and sticking to one bracket is actually very detrimental to our mental health. We were born to move, innovate, adapt, overcome, and just be as full of life as possible. Otherwise, we burn out.

There are physical performers, who seem to be the happiest. Dancers, acrobats, and so on. There are actors. There are fine artists, there are poets, writers, musicians; who can be happy but usually have a lot to say, a lot of pain they release through their art. There are philosophers. These guys really don’t tend to be happy. And then there’s the spiritual crowd, who’s art is just pure expression.

A creative, by nature, tends to stick to what they know. I started writing because when I was younger I didn’t used to speak, but I needed to express myself somehow. When my friend Benie met me I was about 13 and he thought I was a mute. I’ve written for as long as I can remember, I stuck to poetry and song writing for so many years. This was so detrimental to my creativity, in the long run.

I would only write if I had some feelings to make sense of, some pain to let out. So that’s how my brain was conditioned. If I sat down, and I was feeling neutral, I could not be ‘creative’. So I’d become frustrated. My mind would wander in attempts to be creative, and next thing you know, I would have depressed myself into being creative. But that dark cloud of creativity lingered over me after I’d put down my pen, or my paintbrush.

I thought that being a creative meant innately having something to say, but that’s a load of bollocks. You find things to say. Write something worth doing, or do something worth writing about.

Art is beautiful, and I wish I saw it as a catalyst for complete happiness sooner.

All of my best work/art has been done while I’ve been in a good headspace. Speaking retrospectively about pain from an optimistic standpoint. Otherwise, it’s just too much of a downer to enjoy. What are people going to take away from that?

As a creative, if you want to be successful, it is imperative to have a balance between being selfish with your art, and making sure that people benefit from your art. Creating from a place of rawness and honesty because you simply couldn’t do without it; and making sure that if someone might be able to relate, you’re showing them how to not let it get them down too much. You’re creating enjoyment for yourself, and for others, out of your own suffering.

So yeah, easier said than done.

To be a successful creative in this day and age means you gotta have that mental health in check.

A creative life isn’t necessarily one that’s chosen, but one that you can’t run from.

You have to learn to live a creative life which sparks enthusiasm in you every day.

Good things can only come of your work, and your overall life, when you are receptive to good things happening (aka not miserable all the time).

As I’ve been documenting through this blog, since turning 20 I’ve been on a quest to do as many creative things that are outside of my comfort zone as possible. A lot of this is to do with career. Learning new skills, going for big interviews, getting new side jobs. A lot of it is just for fun, too. Dance, gymnastics, pole dance, aerial silks/hoop, more intense yoga, learning an instrument, singing more. Then there’s the travel. I’ve been going everywhere and seeing everything (within my ability). Seeing all of my friends and meeting new ones.

I started this for no other reason than I thought this would be a cool thing to do, but 2 months in I have realised that this has increased my mental health AND my ability to be creative to no end.

I’ve been able to write about a period of my life which was quite dark where I was homeless and my mental health was at an all time low, but I’ve been seeing it from a different standpoint. It’s not ‘I have no where to go life is so hard blegh’ anymore, I see it like ‘wow not being funny but how fcking interesting was that chunk of my life?’.

Since noticing this, I decided to study the brain a little bit more.

My curiosity was sparked after watching this video;

Creativity is actually a thing that you can get a hold of and train. That was such a game changer for me to realise.

The way you live greatly impacts your creativity.

Usually in an article, I’d go as in depth as I can to try and help people adapt their lifestyles for the better, but I can’t exactly craft a routine or daily regime for every individual that reads this.

My biggest tip for any creative out there is to know yourself. Use your creativity daily. Start off your day in a way which makes you creative. Implement a daily activity, go out on a whim at least once a day and do something different, just do whatever you need to do to be ALIVE, not just surviving.

When you wake up, do not expect to have any idea what you will be feeling at the end of the day. Do not expect that you know everything that’s going to happen that day.

That is how you maintain creativity.

I’ve compiled a list of bullet pointed tips that helped me. Not the finest piece of writing, but probably the best way to do it.

  • try everything (not if it will kill you or ruin your life tho)
  • be present. Notice when you aren’t present, question why you aren’t present, and then do whatever it is you need to do in order to be present. Your phone and the little virtual people you speak to aren’t your life, people you see in the flesh are.
  • network and be around people as much as your mental health will allow (be friendly and be willing to be surprised by people)
  • be charitable and get your head out of your arse (I have a whole article about this)
  • experiment with new hobbies and phases (act on your curiosity)
  • stop shutting ideas down before you even fully know what you’re on about
  • question everything you see
  • play devils advocate
  • don’t allow yourself to get bored (there is joy to be found in anything. Stop scrolling, and bake a cake. Or walk somewhere. Make the most of all the possibilities at your disposal)
  • meditate
  • be in your body (express yourself physically. Work out, take a dance class, do yoga, literally any kind of hobby that you enjoy which also keeps you fit)
  • consume as much as you create (have appreciation for other artists work, and let it spark inspiration in you. Truly enjoy all that you consume. Resentment and comparison will only make you a crappier creative)
  • journal any ideas which come to you
  • laugh daily (the most important one)
  • stop trying to make everything the best thing ever (perfection is not the point of creativity, and if anything, it makes it more boring)

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