Remember art class in school? Do you recall arts and crafts at summer camp? If you had a childhood remotely similar to mine, you’ll have fond memories of sitting at the picnic table with a pile of crayons, multicolored crayons and some glue. When I was immersed in an art project, I felt most at peace. I remember my fourth grade masterpiece during my herpetology phase. I spent every single art class on a picture of a snake in a tree. Each leaf had, in my mind, exquisite detail of rot or bugs. The snake had thousands of scales that were colored exactly like the one in my picture book. Making it was heaven and the result made me very proud. I think I ended up giving it to my art teacher, David. I wonder how he’s doing. Taking pride in your crafts, whatever they may be, is as important as the craft itself.
As a grown up, it’s no different. In fact, it is arguably more important. No matter what you are doing, it defines you. Taking pride in your work makes the process rewarding, and makes your results better. Pride is about putting thought and emotional energy as well as physical energy into your craft. Anyone can make an earring or a table or a painting of a flower, but far fewer people take the time to find their voice when executing their craft. You don’t have to be an amazing artist, but you have to be yourself when becoming an artist. Taking pride means being innovative, and being innovative takes courage and pride. It’s a cyclical system that will make you better at everything you do, because it makes everything you do a learning process which requires and pushes you to be better.
If you don’t take pride in your craft, you’re doing it wrong. Whenever I engage in any creative project, whether it’s writing or painting, I meditate on what I want to accomplish. I brainstorm and write down ideas and watch them evolve into a vision. Only then, when I’m impressed with the progress that I’ve made turning seeds into real, full ideas, do I undertake the execution. Yes, it makes the process more challenging, but it also makes it more rewarding. It guarantees that my final product is interesting if not excellent. Don’t get me wrong, great artists are rare. Not all of us has a Picasso or a Frank Lloyd Wright inside of us. All of us do have a great potential though, and sadly that potential is rarely met.
Do just make something, create something! If you have that creative itch inside, but you don’t know how to scratch it, go online to some excellent DIY resources like punch press or The DIY Outlet and find some inspiration. Once that creative fire is lit underneath you, you’ll have a hard time putting out. And that’s a good thing.