For the past decade, I have made a living as a web designer or content producer. I have worked in local news, for a nationally syndicated television show and for a popular e-commerce site. As part of my job duties, I have coded new sites, converted to new platforms and designed a new look for an existing site. While this may sound creative, it wasn’t something I was passionate about in the long-run. Eventually the design requests become routine updates or just slight adjustments.
Deciding I wanted to find something that was a bit more creative or at least engaging, I quit my day job without a concrete path towards my next position. In fact, I’m going through a “defining myself” period, or what many high schoolers call the “gap year” as they determine their life direction post-graduation.
One would think that I have given into my creative urges and dedicate hours to writing or even my new found love of purse making. However, this is far from the truth.
I find myself suffering from what I call creative guilt. I feel like I have to prove my worth by conventional standards by contributing to the house in some acceptable fashion. I don’t get up and fire up the laptop as I want to but rather make sure the laundry is done, carpet is vacuumed and the feline is fed. I spend a bit of time waxing my resume, searching for part-time positions that will enable me to create in my spare time and studying to further my personal development goals.
In “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity”, I learned that this is a form of “a secret doubt” or that “we still doubt that it is okay for us to be creative.” We are reluctant to embrace the opportunity that is presented to us. It’s easier for us to sweep our creativity under the rug that needs vacuumed or chalk it up to “when I have time” rather than accepting circumstances as a gift to do what we want to do.
So, how does one start nudging open the door to claim the right to be creative? Like anything else in life, baby steps. Start by carving out 20 minutes a day to focus on writing, researching purse designs or pottery ideas. As your passion takes over, it will not care what the hands on the clock says.
Create small goals for yourself that will make it seem like more of a project or even part-time job. 500 words a day will get that novel written. Start small and reach them.
Use positive affirmations to pump up the esteem and feed your inner artist. When negativity or doubt start to cloud your perspective, use an open-mind and kind self-talk to refuel your passions.
And know that you are not alone. People suffer from this “secret doubt” everywhere. You are in good company.