BY DEB LUND
November 19, 2014
My mission is to get people claiming their creativity. To fulfill my mission, you have to get in the game.
A key to success in the creative arts is persistence. This isn’t new knowledge, and it’s a quality that we can develop. But it’s hard to persist at what you don’t start.
This past year, as I got my card deck for writers ready for publication, there were many times I considered giving up on the whole project. But it was people who kept me going. I had made a commitment to conference goers who repeatedly asked, “Where can I get these cards?” And once I went through a successful Kickstarter campaign, I really didn’t have a choice. But there were roadblocks (if you despise whining, skip the italicized section below)…
I didn’t know where to get help, so I sought out people whom I trusted and got excellent advice. Did I take the advice? Not exactly. I was looking for an easier and cheaper way. I thought I found it.
First came the Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding program, and I knew I already had the crowd. What I didn’t know was that a big learning curve was ahead of me.
The company I used waited for the Kickstarter funding, so we got to work. They didn’t find art for the project as planned, so I worked out arrangements with the artist myself. I wanted something more in the design, so I hired Whidbey’s Laura Canby, which is why it looks so professional.
I found out the guidebook binding was to be stapled but I wanted it to be sturdy, like a paperback, so I changed that, too. There were discrepancies in font sizes, further editing requests and—with all the changes—the charges piled on. After countless delays, the cards took months longer than the time originally stated, but I stuck with it.
And now they’re finally here!
So—keep going. It’s what you have to do if you want to create. What keeps you going?
Sometimes you’re handed cards that look impossible. Sometimes it IS impossible. Do you quit? No. You shuffle and start over again and don’t quit until you win, right? Sometimes you get a great start, but somewhere during the game, it doesn’t work. Do you quit then? Not until you know there are no options left.
You must stay in the game.
Solitaire is not unlike the creative process. You play with what you’re dealt, and the most persistent players get the most wins—but they never win them all. The difference between solitaire players and artists is that artists learn as they go, and this learning translates into wild cards that they can use when they get stuck (not unlike my card deck for writers). The wild cards don’t always help you win in the end, but you get more wins than you would have.
I didn’t know this. I had to learn it. When I was 25, I sent in a story to a magazine. It was rejected. I believed that meant that I wasn’t a writer, and I didn’t send anything in again for 15 years. But then I learned to celebrate my rejections. They weren’t stopping me!
Want to be Unstoppable?
Give yourself an apprenticeship:
• Make a commitment.
• Stop the negative self-talk.
• Focus on what worked for you in the past.
• Find mentors.
• Grab that deck, shuffle, and start again. And again.
• Win or lose, celebrate that you’re in the game!
Every successful writer, artist, dancer and actor I know experiences self-doubt. They have all gone through their apprenticeship to get to where they are. The really good ones are still in their apprenticeships. When they begin new projects, they may feel like they don’t know anything—like their efforts will end up just being more practice. But they learn to appreciate the opportunity to practice; they shuffle the cards and they play the ones laid out in front of them, game after game.
Creativity is not talent.
Talent just means something comes easy for someone. There are lots of “talented” people who throw the deck when the cards aren’t in their favor. It’s the ones who pick up the deck again and again who see success.
Creativity is often a solitary activity.
Find your tribe. Seek out organizations, conferences, and classes (or teach some yourself). Get a coach. As a coach myself, I still use coaches. It’s the easiest and best way to accomplish my goals.
Creativity is attainable.
If you can persist, you have what it takes to accomplish your creative goals. If you don’t believe me, give me a call. I need you to help me grow this mission. Are you with me?
Then get in the game! Create!
Deb Lund is an author, creativity coach, and writing teacher. Stop by at www.deblund.com to learn more about her.
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