As a practicing artist always looking to create, I thought about Stephen Covey’s, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. While I had not read the book, I know about the seven habits he outlines and they automatically resonate with a lifestyle choice of a practicing artist or creator. In this blog, I will describe how you can adopt the seven habits to help you be more creative.
1 - Be proactive
Create your heart out. Creating, making, designing, and constructing is a not just a habit but a lifestyle choice. Artists, designers, and makers alike are not fair weather hobbyists. When you are proactive about the creations you make be it drawing, sculpting, designing, making and even baking, you are conscious about your artistic decisions during the process. If you’re not proactive about creating, neither you nor your skills and creative ability will grow. By being proactive by always making and doing you will be able to develop further. As Nike says, “Just Do It”!
2 - Begin with the end in mind
Begin by thinking about what the purpose of your creation is. It could be a complex message, a simple idea, or just to experiment. By thinking about your purpose and knowing what you might want from your artistic creation will give value to the finished piece (or process). Simply knowing what the process will entail will help develop your ideas to the next level. All things are created twice - first think, second create.
3 - Put first things first
Sometimes artists and designers are guilty of jumping the gun by creating to see the end product for the sake of getting it done. However, the best works of art are the ones that develop over time. Ideas are not linear. Therefore, as you create and make, let the process be organic. If you start sketching and realize that it would look better with layers of paint, then try it out. Start with a dot and see where that line goes. Creating is all about consistent steps, one artistic brush stroke at a time.
4 - Think win-win
Creating is naturally a win-win. Creating and making have so many positive, intrinsic benefits not just for you as the creator, but also to the people and world around you. Always keep a positive mindset and enjoy the creation process. Be happy with your creations because, if you are, most likely and naturally, someone else will too. So keep a positive outlook.
5 - Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Explore, investigate, research and dig deeper. To be fully understood as a creative or have your creative work understood, you need to understand what it takes to be a creative. Keep an open mind, welcome feedback, and problem-solve. Know what motivates you as an artist or creator. Once you fully understand yourself and your creative process, you and others will connect even deeper to your work.
6 - Synergize!
Connect with other fellow creatives. Coffee might be of single origin, and we all know how amazing that can taste, but ideas are not born from single origins. Connect, collaborate, and share ideas with those who embrace your artistic choices. Remember, surrounding yourself with creatives only makes you more creative. Synergize that creative energy.
7 - Sharpen the Saw
As a practicing artist, you need to PRACTICE. Practice, practice, and practice, every day. If you want to be amazing in what creative endeavors you undertake, nothing beats building skills by pushing your techniques and trying new things. My students always ask how I can be SO good at drawing or sculpting. Well, I’m 35. I have had decades of practice. If you choose the creative lifestyle, practicing will be a want, a passion - not a chore. Sharpen that creative saw to learn everyday and grow as a creative.
Hopefully, you can use these habits and turn them into making intrinsic creative decisions everyday. Pick up a pencil, brush, spatula, or glue stick and get making...something...anything! Or, if you still need some creative inspiration, search out for exhibitions around Hong Kong. There are many events to look forward to at the end of March including Art Basel and HK Art week. Within THS, Arts Interim is just around the corner! It is one of my absolute favourite times of the of year where the whole school becomes creatively proactive and it just re-inspires me as an artist as I learn so much from my fellow creative colleagues and students!