Practice does not make perfect, it makes purpose. So many of us have spent years pursuing our goals and dreams for “someday,” when we could be experiencing it in small amounts now. To practice your creativity means to set the intention of daily experiencing, and exploring what it means for you to be creative. Give yourself permission to follow your passions, if only for a little while. I also have four tips for your creative practice that will make it a positive experience that reinforces your purpose. And some ideas for how you can start a creative practice of your own!
What does it mean to practice as an adult?
One definition of practice is habitually engaging in activities that build your skills and abilities. Practice can be geared to achieving a specific goal, such as a team practicing for a season of competition. Or, the definition can be applied to a daily opportunity to experience and grow in an area you’re passionate about.
As adults, we tend to make everything goal-oriented. It’s a carry-over of our concept of practice, as something we do to get better, so we can be the best. We ask ourselves, “If I can’t win, what’s the point?” If we can’t create something good enough to gift or sell, then why bother spending the time and money to do it? We tie action to accomplishment.
When we tie action to accomplishment, we feel depressed, anxious, and we lose our joy and passion in the practice of the action. Cathy Heller, of Don’t Keep Your Day Job starts every podcast by saying, “I believe the opposite of depression is not happiness… it’s purpose.” To practice something we’re passionate about can bring us joy, or it can harpoon us.
The Goal of Practice is Not Perfectionism.
Practice does not make perfect. That’s an unrealistic expectation that only sets you up for disappointment and a feeling of failure.
Any time we make perfectionism the goal for anything we practice we are guaranteeing we will fail. When we choose to practice our faith for example, we know that we can’t live perfectly. But we can consciously make choices that will move us closer to our goals of being a living, breathing testament to God’s grace.
Practice makes purpose. It’s a daily commitment to take time to experience and grow. It may be moving you towards your goal, but it’s okay if it doesn’t. To have a creative practice is a way for you to connect with your passions, and it gives you a sense of purpose for your actions. Creative practice makes purpose.
Yesterday, I started my new ceramic sculpture class. The room seemed to be full of mini masterpieces. But rather than feel upset that I was a beginner, I sat down and started to play with clay and my new sculpting tools. I gave myself time to acquaint myself with what the tools could do. It made the time fun, and I can’t wait to go back.
The Benefits of a Creative Practice.
Practice doesn’t have to produce something. It’s a commitment to do small everyday things that connect you to your passion and purpose.
You’re giving yourself the gift of experiencing a small amount of what makes you happy everyday. Doing something that you enjoy, and that gives you purpose, should be an everyday thing. Not a someday when I retire thing. Or a “when the kids are older” sort of thing. It’s not a constant emptying of yourself, but a chance to fill yourself with something positive and purposeful that you’re passionate about.
Practice grounds us in the simple and basic. There is acceptance of this in where I am now. Everyday is a new starting point.
When we regularly engage in a physical practice, we develop muscle memory. I recently started to practice my breathing. I quickly found that, when I’m feeling anxious, I can start to do the deep breaths that calm me.
When I make creativity a daily practice, it changes how I work. Interpreting my thoughts into pictures is easier to do because I put the time into practicing it. And I’ve noticed that when an idea comes now, I can quickly sketch out what I have in my mind.
Regular practice creates habits, which have a momentum of their own.
Creative flow is a state where you are so wrapped up in what you’re doing, your mind lets go and you enter a state of heightened creative focus. The flow state is something we can all experience, however there is research that suggests that those who enter the flow most frequently and easily are those who are at the height of their field and yet have consistently practiced the basics. A maestro who practices their scales before every concert. A basketball star who still gets up and runs basic drills every morning, despite winning the championship.
Do you have a creative practice? Are there things you do, because you love to do them and want to get better at them? Or do you expect every craft session to yield a Pinterest-worthy project?
How to make a creative practice part of your everyday life.
- Make a specific time commitment. Intend to do this for a set amount of time. I will sit at the table with my sketchpad for 30 minutes on Wednesdays and just draw. I will spend 5 minutes every morning writing down those things I’m grateful for each day.
- Make it critique-free. I won’t have any expectations of it being good, and I will not judge my worth based on my work. It’s not about the product of your time – it’s about taking the time to enjoy some time doing what you love.
- Give yourself grace. Don’t use it as something to feel bad about. Setting an intention to practice regularly, and then feeling like you blew it the first week or two when you couldn’t meet your expectations is not good for you. Giving yourself grace, being kind to yourself, and staying committed despite setbacks or disappointments is important to making this a positive part of your life.
- Use it as your time to focus on your passion. Be present in the moment and give yourself the gift of uninterrupted time to focus, by anticipating the distractions that may come up. That may mean putting your phone in airplane mode for an hour. You may spend a lot of your time just reeling your mind back in from the many rabbit trails it feels the need to wander, when you slow down. Resist the urge!
- See the creative practice as your purpose. You may want to make the entire practice about doing the hard work you feel needs to be done to move you closer to your purpose, but in reality, it’s about experiencing the purpose not achieving it.
Creative Practice Makes Purpose.
Cultivating a daily practice can connect you to your sense of passion and purpose. It is not about becoming perfect. Its goal should not be event-driven. But to connect you in a small way everyday to the experiences that give you joy. There are benefits to having a daily creative practice. And practicing creativity may actually move you closer to your big goals and dreams.
Practical ideas for a creative practice may mean journaling, sketching, or creative problem solving. It may mean mixing colors and smearing them across a canvas to see how they look. Or it could be giving yourself time to investigate a new technique on YouTube, and then trying it out when you get the chance.
A book I personally love, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron suggests you write morning pages every day. Three pages of paper you fill with whatever comes to mind. No censoring. She also suggests a weekly 2 hour artist date – you get to decide what you can see, or where you can go, that will inspire you.
Love me a freebie… or two!
I would love to know any and all ideas you have about the idea of a creative practice. Just leave a comment below!
And if you would like to print a copy of the quote above, you’ll find it in my Creative Resource Library! I also have the SVG of the quote for you there as well. The library is full of awesome inspirations and things to create with. To get the super secret password you just subscribe for email updates for this blog. You can unsubscribe at any time. BUT, I love to surprise my subscribers with free gifts and a weekly creativity challenge just for them!
Share the inspiration.
If you found this post helpful, please take a moment to share it! And if you would like to read more posts like this be sure to check out my Create with Purpose category on this blog. To listen to Cathy Heller’s podcast, go to the Don’t Keep Your Day Job website. She also has an awesome looking book you can pre-order on Amazon now. I did!
I also have a post title How to Practice Creative Self- Care that ties into this post. Love to have you take a look! Thanks for reading,