28 Reminders to Inspire You Crazy Creative People.

bob ross

{This was originally published on elephant journal.}

Creativity is a practice. Craziness is a skill.

Or, perhaps better stated: we are all crazy in our own ways and we are constantly absorbing and creating, whether we realize it or not.

We are all creative. Art, in my opinion, is a matter of mindfully intending what we create. Art is our offering to the world.

Here are 28 reminders—14 from me and 14 quotes from famous creative people—of how to enhance our creative spirit and express ourselves boldly, clearly and uniquely.

1. Be willing to fail.

Messing up is truly the only way to learn and the only way to succeed eventually. Make happy little mistakes, as PBS painter Bob Ross advises. Let go of perfectionism. Practice doesn’t make perfect.

Practice anyway.

2. “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” ~ Salvador Dali

3. Make time for your creative practice.

Make time, that is, to play. What’s your medium? Play with sentences, pastels, vegetables, sand, chords, rhymes, photography, whatever you fancy.

If you’re so busy that you can’t play, well…you need to take a hard look at your schedule and see what can be given up. Making creative expression a priority in your day or week is of incredible value.

4. “When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity.” ~ Linda Naiman

5. Feed your mind.

What are you reading? Listening to? Watching? Experiencing? All the art that we take in affects our own creative expression, whether it’s hung on a museum wall or found on the sidewalk. Be mindful of the art and ideas—the mental food—you are consuming.

6. “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

7. Change it up.

Don’t get pigeonholed. Be willing to break out of your genres and traditions. Write a poem if you’re not a poet. Draw some doodles if you’re not an artist. Take artsy photographs if you’re not a photographer.

Break out of the rut. Be willing to do creative things differently than you’ve done them before. Collaborate with new partners. Shift gears. Keep it lively.

8. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~ Maya Angelou

9. Keep some of your stuff secret.

In today’s internet age, it’s easy to put stuff out there. Maybe too easy. There is definite value to keeping some of your creative endeavors private, whether it’s to work on essential revisions before publishing—or to keep for your eyes only forevermore.

Whether or not you self identify as a writer, it’s a wonderful creative practice to keep a diary or journal of your thoughts, ideas and brainstorms.

10. “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~ Scott Adams

11. Be happy! Balance self-acceptance and action.

12. “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London

13. Just do it. Let the stream of consciousness flow.

14. “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” – Ray Bradbury

15. Reconnect with your crazy and childlike imagination.

16. “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” ~ Pablo Picasso

17. Don’t fret over being “creative.”

The truth is, there’s nothing really original, but we all have the potential to be creative by mixing things up in new ways.

18. “Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” ~ Albert Einstein

19. Be brave.

20. “Creativity takes courage. ” ~ Henri Matisse

21. Discuss ideas.

A good conversation can provide artistic inspiration. Talk over your ideas with trusted friends. Ask for feedback. Accept criticism.

22. “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

23. Be yourself!

There’s no wrong way to be you. Your whole life is your masterpiece. Don’t waste it trying to imitate, undermine or outdo others.

24. “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” ~ Martha Graham

25. Rev up your third chakra (solar plexus). The seat of creativity, will and desire.

26. “The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses.” ~ Edith Södergran

27. Empower your throat chakra. But don’t worry about fame and fortune. Be happily anonymous.

28. From The Book of Life by J. Krishnamurti:

Have you ever thought about it? We want to be famous as a writer, as a poet, as a painter, as a politician, as a singer, or what you will.

Why? Because we really don’t love what we are doing.

If you loved to sing, or to paint, or to write poems, if you really loved it you would not be concerned with whether you are famous or not.

To want to be famous is tawdry, trivial, stupid, it has no meaning; but, because we don’t love what we are doing, we want to enrich ourselves with fame.

Our present education is rotten because it teaches us to love success and not what we are doing. The result has become more important than the action.

You know, it is good to hide your brilliance under a bushel, to be anonymous, to love what you are doing and not to show off.

It is good to be kind without a name. That does not make you famous, it does not cause your photograph to appear in the newspapers. Politicians do not come to your door.

You are just a creative human being living anonymously, and in that there is richness and great beauty.

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