In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.
– Shunryu Suzuki
Day 9 of Build your creative confidence –
Always be a beginner
As we get older and become more confident in our roles and in our areas of expertise, we forget what it feels like to be a beginner. In fact, we may fear being a beginner again. But the key to building our creative confidence lies in our willingness to be a beginner, to face our fears, to look stupid or create something that isn’t perfect. Can you feel your shoulders tensing up as you read this?
Do you remember being a child, looking at everything with a sense of wonder and faith in your own ability to accomplish anything? We lose that sense of wonder or that beginner’s mind that sees possibilities like Suzuki mentions above. The unintended benefit of a creative practice is a renewed ability to see more possibilities, to generate more ideas and to experience a fresh sense of wonder at our own creative abilities.
One of my most favorite books this year is Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception. This whole book is a manifesto about why we must all become artists. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you read it if you are being called to start or to grow your creative practice. So many of us have confused being creative with making ART that we lost faith in our own creative genius. Being willing to take the risk of trying something new or trying our hand at a beloved craft that we haven’t touched in years is step 9 in building your creative confidence but it could be all of the 31 steps rolled into one.
Today, my mom and I took a card making class at a local scrapbooking and paper crafting store in Estes Park, Colorado called Rocky Mountain Memories. The owner Cheryl was teaching a 6 in 60 class. In 2.5 hours we made 6 beautiful handmade cards. Neither my mom or I had taken a class like this or were familiar with many of the techniques, tools and methods that Cheryl shared. Neither of us are scrapbookers either. This was an adventure in art and it took the willingness to try something new. Following Cheryl’s instructions, each person in the class (about 8 of us) completed 6 stunning notecards that we will be proud to gift to someone!
My mom has an MFA in Sculpture and definitely has firm ideas about the difference between “Art” and “crafts.” There is a broad gap between the two that for many years threatened to engulf me as I struggled to find my own sense of creativity and pride in what I was creating. I love crafts of all kinds and over the past few years have found that I love being a beginner. I don’t care if my creation isn’t perfect or doesn’t match the instructors. I laugh at my errors and mistakes and just enjoy the process. If I don’t like it, I toss it.
That wasn’t always true. I can be a perfectionist and want things to look just so, but art isn’t about getting it perfect, it’s about the process of experimenting over and over again until you find your “voice” – whether that voice is expressed in writing, song, acting, sculpture, painting or quilting doesn’t matter. We all have a unique creative expression, if we are willing to risk making a few mistakes along the way.
Lesson #9 – Always be a beginner.
Are you willing to be a beginner today? You can do this in the privacy of own home, you don’t have to share your work with anyone else although I encourage you to share your journey of creative recovery with at least one other person who will support you.
First, spend a few minutes thinking about what you would like to try – writing a poem, learning to play guitar, painting with watercolor…
Then, search the internet for a virtual lesson. You can find lessons for just about anything on YouTube! Especially ideas related to arts and crafts. Or search Pinterest for a project that piques your interest and go check it out.
Just start! If you are feeling fear and panic rise or you are thinking this is too hard, think back to your childhood – you learned to walk, you learned to ride a bike, then drive a car, maybe you learned a foreign language or two, algebra and physics… It’s human nature to want to learn and grow. Push through the fear and just have fun exploring ideas to try.
Share in the comments what you would like to create!