Don’t Be One of the 75%

I recently read a report revealing that 75% of people feel as though they are not living up to their creative potential. That’s sad. But the saddest thing about it is that the numbers didn’t really surprise me. I know too many creative people who find themselves stuck in some way or another (usually temporarily but sometimes indefinitely) and have a difficult time recovering from the monotony of an uninspired life.

It’s easy to blame our lack of artistic satisfaction on our jobs or on our other grown-up responsibilities and obligations. Things exhaust us. We’re tired. We become unproductive and indifferent. We stop flexing our creative muscles. We let fatigue, bad habits, and boredom take over. This is how 75% of us end up walking around feeling like we’re not living up to our potential, not connecting with other people, or that we’re giving up on the things we love.

I consider myself lucky: I have a job where I get paid to write and have ideas, I play music with my friends, I make things with my hands, I talk on a regular basis to other writers and musicians and artists about writing and music and art, and I write and read in my spare time, too. Living this way certainly doesn’t solve all of my problems, but I feel more fulfilled as a human when I am learning new things, connecting to people, and creating and discovering meaningful art.

I’m not here to lie to you and tell you it’s easy. Being creative is hard work that is often coupled with even more obligations. Exploring the unknown can bring on a whole new set of anxieties. Did I mention it’s lonely sometimes, too?

This summer marks the three year anniversary of the art collective I co-founded in 2012, called Spiderweb Salon. The idea was simple: to make creativity less lonely and art more accessible. We wanted to create things, we wanted to invite others to create things, and we wanted to host a space where people could feel empowered and inspired to express themselves, share ideas, and make beautiful things, effectively improving the overall creative health of individuals and the community we live in.

The collective began with two artists and in three years hundreds of artists across a wide range of  disciplines have been involved. There are about thirty or forty dedicated participants. It has spawned countless creative collaborations and lasting friendships among artists in the DFW area. The success of Spiderweb Salon has proven to me that people who allow themselves the time to be creative generally feel happier about what they’re doing with their lives. We can help each other grow as artists and people.

If you think you are at risk for being one of the 75%, it’s time to make a change. Consider singing a song, writing a letter, taking a ceramics class, practicing an instrument, painting a picture, baking a cake, or taking up needlepoint. Whatever you do, don’t do nothing.