Sometimes our creativity leads us to be exposed emotionally, as we face a sense of vulnerability. When I was a teenager, I enjoyed writing poetry and short stories. In my senior year of high school, I was in two different writing classes which I took so I could get all my credits to graduate. One of the classes was a general writing class and the other was a creative writing class. I did well in both classes and my teachers loved me. I guess it was because most of the kids in those classes had flunked writing or didn’t try. But I loved to write so it was easy for me to get an “A” without trying.
On one occasion, I was asked to read a poem I had written about a snowflake. Apparently my teacher loved it so much she thought it was a good idea and some kind of reward for me to read it out loud. Little did she know, this was absolute torture for my introverted, quiet soul. It was nerve wracking and embarrassing. I read it as quickly as I could and sat down, red-faced.
Creating is a Vulnerable Process
This story came to mind today and I share it here because I feel there is a way to share our art and creativity without being humiliated. The teacher, while well-meaning, mistakenly thought having me read poetry and praising me in front of everyone was a good idea. But most of us don’t create art for accolades. Most of us aren’t hoping to be called on to gloat about our skill. We simply write, draw, paint, and create because our heart must.
It is an expression of our souls to dance with an idea and see it come to life. If we weren’t able to do so, we’d feel caged and confined. Art, in all its forms, reaches parts of our beings and brings us joy. For me, art is like breathing. To not do it would be like death.
We Create So We Can Share
Don’t get me wrong. We do want to share. We create because we were born to, yet we create to share it and give joy to others. Creativity is not a selfish endeavor. It may start with that but it never ends there. We create and we share. But not when forced to. There are no rules to how we give it away. I think part of the creative journey is finding your own way to share this gift. It looks different for each person.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when sharing your art:
There are many people who simply need encouragement. Sending hand made cards or artwork will surely lift a spirit that is in need. There always seems to be some holiday, teacher or boss appreciation, or other moment that would be appropriate to send warm wishes to others.
Home is Where the the Art is
I’ve started a habit of hanging my art in my home. Some of it is mediocre and some is great but I want to share my art with the people who enter my house. Hanging up my own art feels strange at time as I don’t like the attention, but it also makes me happy when someone else enjoys something I created.
I also hang my kids art in my home too. I do this because I want them to know I value their creativity but also because I want them to value their own art. My kids can be perfectionists so hanging their art, even ones they consider “dumb”, is my way of showing them that creating is never dumb. You never know how a piece of artwork will be received until you hang it in your dining room.
Share the Art Process on Social Media
We always think we need to put out perfect work. But the truth is, people like to see how you got from A to B. Show before & after shots. Show the mistakes. Explain how the pen you used on a hand lettering quote sucked. Showcase the good stuff too. Be real because that is when your art matters most. Share it on the social media channels and you will find you grow by leaps and bounds.
Tell a story
People connect with those who are vulnerable enough to express their art with the story behind it. I could post a picture of a flower and I’d get some feedback; or I could post that same picture and tell a story about how my mom, who passed away, had these flowers in her garden and meticulously cared for them. Connections matter. Yes, connect through art but don’t forget that words matter too.
The process of sharing requires humility and an openness to hear what others think. I have received a lot of feedback and it’s helped me grow and encourages me to keep perfecting my art. As with anything, being flexible and willing to listen and learn is key.
Share your art and watch the world unfold.