What It Feels Like to Create Art That Matters

Anytime you dare to descend down the unknown path, certain elements will always be at work.

Let’s say you decide to try your hand at a new medium of artistic expression.

Here’s what happens:

First, resistance settles in. You procrastinate. You put the work off. You find other things to do. Jesus, anything but initial execution, you think. Because you just know the first few dozen attempts are going to be crap anyway.

But you snap out of it. You stop watching television, light a fire under your ass and make a conscious decision: I’m going to suck it up and sit down and try.

So you do. And even though the canvas terrifies you, it feels right. It feels true.

Then you put pen to paper. You put blood to canvas. And although you have no idea where you’re going, what you’re doing or how the work is going to show up, you follow what comes out of you anyway. Because practice is the only way to get better.

Then it just becomes matter of trust: Trusting the process. Trusting your abilities. Trusting your heart. Trusting your instincts. Trusting your resources. And of course, trusting the medium.

This level of trust creates a safe and honest space to explore. Not to rehearse – to explore: Failures, mistakes, biffs and all.

So you do.

And just like drawing a bath, it takes time to hit the hot water. So you keep at it, establishing gentle flow, letting whatever pours out of you to take shape as it sees fit. After all, creativity is nothing but active listening. You don’t decide what to create – you listen for what wants to be created.

But that’s when you start to surprise yourself. It’s like, out of nowhere, with one stroke of the pen, you look down and think, “Whoa. This actually pretty good.”

You enjoy a celebratory pretzel. Nothing like a good victory dance to recharge your artistic spirit.

Okay. Enough salt. Back to work.

This time something feels different. This time, you return with newfound strength, fueled by the fruits of your creative progress. And this inspires you to do more, to do better.

So you do.

The progress continues.
The momentum accumulates.
The canvas starts to stare back at you.

And that’s when you realize that it’s not actually canvas at all – it’s a mirror.

No wonder creating art is so scary: It’s nothing but a stark reflection of your truth.

Whatever you put down is who you are. Gulp.

But after a while, the confrontation isn’t so bad. You start to like what you see more and more with each stroke. And you say to yourself, “Seriously man, this thing is really starting to look good.”

So the cycle repeats itself. You get pumped and create more. You just let it flow. It builds and builds and builds. And even though you’re scared, even though you’re confused, you find a place to put the fear and use it as fuel.

That’s when you start thinking about the future.
That’s when you start believing in your creative vision.
That’s when you start imagining how good your work is going to become.

And at that point, it’s kind of hard to stop yourself.

Will you create art that matters?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor

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