Are You TOO Creative??

Are You Too CreativeI know many highly creative people. Dancers, singers, actors, artists, directors, screenplay writers, novel writers, poets, directors, producers, street performers, circus folk, belly dancers, fire-eaters, designers, sculptors, and other people who are just ‘artsy’ but don’t actually pursue any discipline (you know, the guy on the pushbike tricycle near Venice Beach). And while these people are very nice an’ all, it’s frustrating when I see these highly creative people never get anywhere in life with their creative pursuits.

But hang on… – what about creative arty people who just want to do their art in a quiet little cabin in the woods? Surely the point of art is not to be successful, but to express yourself creatively? – Yeah, maybe…but in my experience this type of thinking is only reserved for older people who have spent part of their life pursuing their craft, but have since given up. – This is why the world is full of amateur musical theater societies and artist groups who socialize more than they paint. If you’re in this group I’m happy that you’re content, but I wonder if you ever wanted to do your creative interest professionally?

But if you’re still young and inspired enough to pursue your dream, please keep reading.

There is a big problem among highly creative arty people, (of which I am one). The problem is that we tend to be fruit-loops. We are naturally talented and creative, but we lack focus and direction, or the real-life-skills to make it in the big wide world. – It’s the problem of being so creative that we have no room for common sense or clear thinking.

So please…if you are a creative person, dreaming of making it with your novel, painting, acting et cetera – I urge you to consider the points below.

1. Learn To Focus on One Thing at a Time. It’s nice that you’re multi-talented. Believe me I know what it’s like – right now I have in the works a children’s novel which is 33,000 words in, a feature film which after almost 2 years is in the final stages of post-production, several paintings, an ‘epic’ poem, an audio CD and short book about Christian radio, two feature-length screenplays in their 6th or 7th draft and several other ideas I am hungry to start. But – I’ve only been able to achieve any of these because I disciplined myself to work on one thing at a time. When I write – all emails and other distractions get turned off. When I paint I don’t think about writing. When I’m producing my film, I work for 2 hours at a time totally focused on it. So, you need to stop pursuing multiple things all at once. A few projects on the go is okay – but one at a time.

2. Learn some Business and Marketing Skills. I always hate it when an ‘artist’ gives me a ‘business card’ which is on flimsy recycled paper that they made at home, and which they’ve handwritten each one. This says to people that you are not serious about succeeding in what you do. Learn to promote yourself professionally. And learn a few small business basics. Your eyes shouldn’t glaze over when someone says “profit & loss statement” or “net return”.

3. Learn to Network. There’s a common saying which is missing a bit – “It’s about who you know, not what you know”. – This isn’t quite correct, in today’s world it’s really about “Who Knows What You Do”. Learn to share what your passions and dreams are. It’s no good someone knowing you if they have no idea that you are creative, or that you are writing a novel, or that you {insert your talent here}. You need to let people (especially people who you think might help you) know what your talents and dreams and goals are. How can they help you if they don’t know what you are really trying to do?

4. Have Goals. Dreams are good. Dreams written down on paper with dates next to them are better. – That’s what we call a vision – or even a business plan. It’s a way of keeping accountable with yourself. You simply won’t get anywhere if your dreams are not written down.

5. Be Prepared. Get the degree you need. Read those books gathering dust on your shelf. Attend that seminar. There’s nothing worse that being unprepared when an opportunity opens up.

5. Don’t Get Distracted. During WWII General Joe Stilwell used the phrase “llegitimi non carborundum” (Don’t let the bastards grind you down). Quite simply – don’t let the negative opinions of others distract you from the dream you are actively pursuing.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this, so please go ahead, be creative and let me know what you think.