The Care & Feeding of A Thriving Artist

So you want to be a Thriving Artist. You decide to incorporate one (or more) of your creative passions into your everyday life. Go, you!

But now what? How do you sustain yourself for the long haul? Especially when “everyone else” seems to be either:

A) lounging on the couch watching Netflix or
B) getting thousands of likes and downloads of their latest creations.

You’re putting in the time, maybe instead of binge-watching your favorite shows, and yet where are the rewards?

Lovely one, it’s time to remember that creativity itself is a reward. You’re not doing this for the money, or the accolades, or even to help others – although those are all valuable results.

You’ve chosen to consciously add creativity to your life because it’s part of who you are. It’s in your very bones. Creativity is part of the essence of your identity.

That said, you can’t create from an empty wellspring. You still need to fill your cup, regularly.

Here are some things that I’ve found essential to the care & feeding of a Thriving Artist.

  • Time to do nothing at all. This is a super hard thing for some of us – myself included. Start small, by building in just 10 or 15 minutes of unscheduled time each day or week to just BE. Nope, not checking email or scrolling through Instagram. Just daydreaming, contemplating, or staring at the wall.
  • Good sleep. Not just enough sleep, but good quality rest. Make your bedroom your sanctuary. Start to wind down an hour or so before you really need to be fully asleep. Establish a ritual or routine that eases you into your rest time.
  • Movement. Sometimes when we’re deep into creation mode, we forget that we have a physical body. Put reminders in your phone to get up and move. Take a walk, dance to your favorite tunes, or do a few yoga stretches. Your body needs to move regularly.
  • Quality input. You don’t have to give up Netflix entirely, if you garner enjoyment from it. Be selective about the entertainment you choose to consume – and then go all-in. Read that romance on the beach. Listen to uplifting audio books. Binge your heart out, and then return to your creative project feeling refreshed, rather than guilty.
  • Nature time. Get outside. The energies of nature refresh the creative spirit like nothing else. Yeah, I know, there are bugs out there, and the sun is bright. Put on your floppy hat and use your all-natural bug spray, and then walk those forest trails or comb the beach. Your creative soul will thank you.
  • Support. You can’t be a Thriving Artist if you’re doing All The Things for your household. Get some backup. Other people can do the dishes and plan the meals. Or that stuff can wait a while. Enlist the support of your partner, kids, or roommates. Don’t try to be a superhero.
  • Another creative medium. All of the writers I work with have other forms of creativity that they choose to engage: painting rocks, puttering in the garden, or singing, just to name a few examples. Creating something that isn’t your primary medium enhances the energy and inspiration you bring to your big project. It brings a spirit of playfulness to your day, and fills up that wellspring.
  • Shadow work. Sometimes resistance will stick out its foot and trip you up. This is your growing edge. It’s a chance to learn, grow, and expand. Spend some time journaling about your fears and old patterns. That’s part of releasing them. Look up “shadow work” and try some of the practices for releasing old energies. If this feels especially heavy for you, enlist the help of a therapist.
  • Joyful collaboration. Contrary to popular belief, creative people thrive when they work in community. There are tons of online groups and virtual meetups where you can find the company of like-minded artists. Look for the ones where laughter and encouragement flow. Or start your own.

What about you? What fills your creative cup? What’s missing from this list? Comment below with your ideas.

Even more key, craft a custom list for yourself, and then incorporate those things into your daily life.

Tell me what you think!

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