Radical Allegiance to Your Creative Self

Fierce self-love is one of my top values. Your relationship with yourself is one of the most important things to optimize in your life, because it affects all your other decisions.

After a lifetime of having a very conflicted relationship with my writing, I’m finally in a new place, which I affectionately refer to as Not giving a fuck. It’s quite liberating. And it has that same fierce quality.

I looked up fierce: “having or displaying an intense or ferocious aggressiveness.”

I like it. I do feel aggressive. I feel aggressive toward any ideas, beliefs, people, or institutions that attack my innate creativity and value. I think that’s appropriate. Creativity requires making a space within yourself and within your life where your vulnerability and realness is completely welcome, supported, and celebrated. That space absolutely needs protection from internal and external attacks.

Maybe the most debilitating attack of all is the one that says this has no value. That’s bullshit; refuse to accept it. No thanks, return to sender. Why would I let someone who doesn’t appreciate me tell me my value?

Here are my ideas on how to affirm, support, protect, defend, nurture, and fiercely love your creative self.

Internal Environment

Beliefs

  • define art very broadly: creative output that is meaningful to me
  • making art matters to myself, having nothing to do with its reception
  • see creativity as essential to daily life, like nutrition and sleep. the fact that humans have made art as long as we’ve been human – i.e. cave paintings – suggests it is not optional.
  • enjoying the process of creating is essential, as otherwise I won’t do it, so optimizing that process is time well spent
  • my art’s value to capitalism has no relationship to its value to me
  • my art’s value to other people is independent of its value to me
  • any reason to create art is valid, or having no reason at all
  • if a belief makes me not want to make art, it’s a dumb belief and I’m changing it right now
  • there is no right kind of art to make
  • my skill level is not a reason to make or not make art
  • it’s always OK to do things for fun or joy. Fun and joy are objectively good things, so why not have more of it?

Healing

  • review and process any impactful negative events related to your creativity, like school trauma
  • surface and rewrite whatever messages you received from parents or elsewhere
  • enjoy and value your own ideas and creations
  • honor resistance, journal about it, talk to it with self-empathy, find out the underlying need and meet it

Practice

  • believe you can have a great relationship with your creativity and commit to creating it
  • just start, wherever I’m at
  • prioritize flow state because flow produces more and better output over time
  • constantly notice friction and lower it. 
  • go for 80% and done, not 100%. done > perfect.
  • consciously notice and reject art-negative messages, i.e. anything that produces more internal friction or noise about creating
  • allow yourself to explore whatever is interesting to you, no filter or judgement, as this is how you get to the deeper stuff that is uniquely you
  • allow change in your creative process and output to happen – do not hold yourself to any past version of yourself, allow and support your own evolution
  • track and pursue what feels impactful, even if it doesn’t “make sense”
  • break internal rules when they show up
  • strike while the iron is hot – value and prioritize the hot iron
  • if you hit resistance, don’t just keep pushing. stop and journal or check in and listen to what it needs

External Environment

  • make creativity part of daily life or routine
  • have a process to capture ideas anywhere you are
  • notice any external friction and lower it.
  • invest time and resources. buy the supplies you need, take time to organize your thoughts, take classes
  • consume creatively supportive content
  • have friends who affirm and celebrate you being creative
  • find places to share your output that makes you feel like creating more of it
  • track and eliminate or change anything that has the effect of suppressing your creativity – don’t just live with it
  • general self-care so you’re not in survival mode
  • enjoy and celebrate and be proud of what you create
  • get clear on what feedback is helpful vs harmful and exercise good boundaries
  • make the smallest daily commitment, to maintain flow, without creating a huge hurdle

Affirmations

  • I refuse to devalue myself or what I make.
  • My creativity is nobody else’s business.
  • I don’t owe anyone anything–I’m doing this for me.
  • Anything negative I learned, I can unlearn.
  • I choose my own relationship to creativity.
  • My own desire to create is enough to make that creativity worthwhile.
  • The point of making art [writing, etc] is because I want to make art.
  • My art makes its own sense.
  • A commitment to my creativity is a commitment to myself.
  • I am fucking amazing!

Application

Some ways I am applying this to my writing right now:

  • letting myself post this in list form, breaking internal rule about what a “real article” looks like
  • using a picture of art makeup on the because it appealed to me, even though it’s not a “traditional art form”
  • writing about this today because this is where my mind is at today
  • bookmarked the “Add new post” page and my fav stock photo search page on my main bookmark toolbar to lower friction
  • taking time to figure out how best to use Roam in my writing process
  • specifying the feedback I want in a group: “I’m not looking for a critique, but I would like to know how my words impact you”.
  • uploaded the new theme and got started, even though there are a lot of old posts to go through and fix
  • made a commitment to write every day for 30 days to get my flow back on. my commitment is simple, just to hit “Publish” every day.
  • jumping in, even though I don’t know precisely what i will write about
  • appreciating myself!

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