I want to tell you a little about how I got to where I am. And, how I've figured out some simple steps to help me do my creative work.
I also want to tell you why I set up another website, Simple Creative Steps, to share what I’ve learned.
I started painting in 2013. Since then, I’ve been teaching myself to paint (with a little help from the University of Online). I have to tell you, at times, it's been a painfully slow process.
It began when I started to regain some of my health after being ill for a few years (I have ME/CFS). This long period of ill health made me reevaluate my life...
I decided that I needed to spend what precious time and energy I have doing something I enjoy. Something that feels meaningful.
So why painting?
Well, I knew I wanted to do something creative. Something that wouldn’t be too stressful or energy intensive (on account of me feeling an overwhelming need to lie on a sofa ALL THE TIME).
Oh, and it had to be cheap as I don’t have a lot of money to spend on gear or materials.
While this may sound a bit restrictive, it actually helped me narrow things down. And, there’s still a ton of stuff you can do for free or cheaply from home.
I’ve tried various art forms over the years but I hadn't painted since college, over twenty years ago. I knew I’d enjoy the work and it ticked a lot of boxes: I could do it at home at my own pace, I didn't need a huge outlay on equipment, I wasn't reliant on other people and there are plenty of free resources and advice on the internet.
So I went to the shop, bought some paints, paper and brushes and started painting.
Now I’m knocking out masterpieces all over the place. Easy.
OK, they're not masterpieces (and it was far from easy just to get to not masterpieces), and I still have a lot to learn. But here's the thing, I have learned a lot, and not only about how to paint.
When I started my creative project (learning to paint) I thought it would be a fairly simple process. I soon realized that there was a lot of barriers that I would have to overcome to get where I wanted to go. Some of which I had control over and others that I did not.
Achieving worthwhile goals in life, like learning a new skill, takes effort and consistency. You have to show up, do the work and then do it again and again.
Now, this is hard enough if you’re an average person with good health and time and energy to burn. But most of us have jobs, families and busy modern lives.
And, if you’re like me, you may have some impairment, some restriction on how much you can do and when you can do it. If you suffer from a chronic illness or fatigue, like, how are you supposed to achieve anything?
Well, I knew that learning to paint would involve a lot more than just putting paint on canvas. I needed a process that would enable me to do it consistently; without me wanting to give up and break things.
Working out how best to use my time and energy.
I needed to know what to focus on, when to work and how to motivate myself. How to cope with failure and how to keep going when things weren't going well. How to deal with the fact that sometimes I just couldn't do the work I wanted to. That sometimes things are out of my control.
I also had to look at other areas of my life. Could I cut out things that were taking up too much time? (I'm honestly not even thinking about my kids right now...)
Could I reduce stress and save energy, leaving me in a better position to work when I wanted to?
Over the years I’ve found many ways to help me achieve my goals and get my work done. I’ve studied what other creative people have done and tested various ideas out for myself. Some have worked well while others... not so well.
I've discovered there's a few simple steps you can take to get started and a few more to keep things going.
It’s the reason I set up my website Simple Creative Steps - I wanted to share what I’ve learned with other people. People who, like me, have ambitions to do something creative.
People who, like me, don't have time and energy to burn. Who need a simple, clear path that relates to them and understands their needs.
Check it out if you feel there’s a creative project in you waiting to get out. If you’ve already started, there might be something there that could help you on your way.
Let me know what you think or if you have any ideas that could help others with their creative endeavors.
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