If you feel the need to create, you are an artist or a creative. You must claim this identity. Some part of you will suffer if you don’t. If you are called to make things, please make them.
And, if you need help claiming your Artist-Self, there are resources available. Here are 3.
- This is geared toward poets but the wisdom applies to closet creators in all media: For Closet Poets: How to Claim Your Creative Identity
- Dorothea Helms has a book especially for writers: The Writing Fairy Guide to Calling Yourself a Writer
- InterPlay provides experiential opportunities using dance and storytelling to discover your inner creative resources – even if you can’t find them when you hunt for them.
If the idea of being an artist scares and thrills you, be brave. Find people around you who will support you as you stretch into a new self-awareness. Claim your Artist-Self. You will feel better about yourself.
It took me 29 years to claim my identity as an artist. That was at least 21 years too many.
By 8, I was dancing, singing, acting, playing an instrument, and writing stories. Through the years, I kept adding new artisic experiences and skills. In college, I could tell you which plays were responsible for which poor grades on my transcript. In law school, I spent more time rehearsing than I did studying.
Even so, I denied my true nature. I tried to squeeze myself into the academic and corporate molds that were presented to me as career options. I bristled with resentment and railed against confinement, and my psyche took a beating because I didn’t face the truth.
I am an artist.
In any other group, I eventually stand out as weird: divergent, non-conformist, thinking outside the box, weirdly obsessed with beauty and depth of emotional experience. In a crowd of artists, I belong.
I want you to feel that sense of belonging, too. So, please, if you feel a creative tug, indulge it, support it, encourage it. Make things. And call yourself an artist. Call yourself a practising artist or a novice artist if you have to, but call yourself an artist.
It may make all the difference.This post was inspired by the video and discussion on The Artist’s Road: When Did You Know You Were an Artist?