Do you feel you need to reinvent yourself? Why not start by reinventing your art? If you think about art, literature or even music, creating something is reinventing.
Each time we create something, we’re making something new. It could be an old idea that gets an improvement. An original essay you edit over and over. A sketch that turns into a mural. It’s a reinvention of an idea that gives you the opportunity to start over.
Reinventing ourselves obviously starts from within. A conscious choice to start to take what’s “old” and make anew. I do it every time I pick up the pencil. Sometimes it’s a great feeling. Sometimes I’m left scratching my head. But the point is to try it. Simply doing is progress. It’s the point.
So much is placed on success of achievement. We strive, we set goals, we try and if we don’t succeed, then we’re told we’ve failed. It’s through failure we learn. What is truly success?
A Lesson From Grant
I recently finished a biography on Ulysses S. Grant by Ron Chernow. One of the best books of 2017 and I can honestly say, it’s worth the read. A tremendous effort to read I may add. But the lessons learned from the general and former president are immense.
Grant’s life was one of professional failure and reinvention. The lows were low. The highs were high. A constant struggle with alcoholism and we can only learn how the human spirit drives us to “succeed.”
The same is said for following a creative path. Some drawings work, some don’t. Some lines work, some not so much. It’s the constant struggle to just create. Reinventing yourself like Grant did time and again is key. Sometimes drawing a circle will do. Maybe a square.
Sometimes you just sketch a bird or a flower. A do-over.
Success Is Relative
Do you ever ask yourself what the definition of artistic success is? What if I told you the answer depends on what you consider success to be. Success isn’t simply defined. For some it’s the accumulation of wealth. For others it’s writing that book of a lifetime.
Some, it’s simply being able to walk again.
Success is how we as individuals define it. So it’s frustrating to see people constantly comparing themselves to others. This is especially true with art. My art is mine. It’s how I make it. Sure, there are plenty of talented individuals whose work is better than mine.
But I’m not making my art for them. Ulysses Grant didn’t work to succeed for others. He worked to prove to himself that he was worth what he believed he was worth. Grant was horrible at business. He was near destitute when the Civil War broke out. He went from selling firewood on street corners to eventually leading all Union armies during the war.
Reinvention of the highest level is not a singular “thing.” It’s a continuous journey. Your creative success is based on your goals. Ask yourself what do you consider success to be?
Grant realized his talents in the military. Once he left the army, his idea of success was success in business. He failed. Grant reinvented himself during the Civil War and again during his presidency.
Creativity Is Constant Reinventing
The point of my long ramble is your creativity is a cycle of constant reinventing. Creativity doesn’t stop. It may hide itself for a while, but your creative ability is always there.
I can’t tell you how many times I start a drawing or t-shirt design, and then, nothing. Blank.
The abyss of creativity.
I stop myself and come back. Reinvention. I restart the process of my creativity. However, it’s not easy. Grant didn’t have it easy. He battled alcoholism throughout his life. But he kept going.
Grant also had support. From his wife Julia to his confidant Rawlins. There were people who were invested in his success. Find those people in your life. It could be a spouse, close friends, colleagues, a mentor, anyone who is genuinely invested in your success.
For me, I gain support from my friends who give me honest feedback and from my family of course who respect my time when creating.
In addition to that support from those around it’s about time. You need time to create. No distractions. No interruptions (Disclaimer: I have a young son, there is no such thing as no distractions), However, the more creative time you get, the more your reinvention will pay off.
Above all, you’re creative success depends on your effort. No one else can do anything for you unless you commit yourself to not only your craft, but constantly reinventing it.
Don’t hesitate to start over. I’m giving you permission to do. For what that’s worth. Reinventing
Creating art, music, writing, anything, is a challenge humans pursue since the beginning of our thought. We endeavor to create. To express ourselves in ways only we as individuals can.
Above all, we do it for the challenge. It’s worth doing. Creating art is worth our time which is the most valuable asset any of us have. I struggle to find time to write blog posts, yet I endeavor to do it. Whether any reads, it doesn’t matter.
I’m doing this because I believe it’s valuable. If nothing else, it’s valuable to my creative process. Sometimes we have to do something for ourselves. I encourage you to reinvent your creativity. Each time you feel stuck, start over. Reinvent. Reboot. Give yourself permission for the do-over.
In addition to starting over, find some inspiration to help you. Check out some of my wall art here. Or if you feel the need to spruce up your summer wardrobe, check out my latest t-shirt design here.
I thank you for reading and let me know what you do to reinvent your art. The more ideas the better! Cheers!