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Welcome to Thrive! A weekly advice column for creatives and the generally confused.

Hi Thrivers! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a list and with all this great weather in New York this week I’ve been feeling motivated to be ~*creative*~. Only, I didn’t know where to put my energy and I am feeling a little like I did when I was 20. And then it hit me… I’ve got 10 years of experience on my hands with moments just like this, and then I put them to use. Now I’m here to share my “old lady” wisdom with you, too.

 

10 Things About Creativity I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago

10. Failing Isn’t Wrong or Bad

In fact you should embrace failure. Whenever something goes wrong or we fail to achieve what we set out to do we are learning. And learning is what will get us across the finish line next time. I also found that sometimes my perceived failures are actually successes if I look at them through a different lens.

9. Create From Love

If you create from a place of fear or uncertainty, your work will reflect that. If you are forcing yourself to do a project because it’s “trendy” or it’s what is “successful” then your work won’t reflect you or your truth. Always create from a place of self-love and enjoyment.

8. Creativity Finds Those Who Work

That said, not everyday is going to be a walk through the park. Sometimes it’s going to be a walk through the Gov Ball bathroom line. There will be days where you stare at the wall and think your mind is totally blank. Stick with it and see it through. Your work will find you. I used to avoid working because I hated the feeling of being useless and inefficient with time. And guess what? That fear kept me from creating anything for YEARS! Get used to being uncomfortable.

7. Loneliness is Part of Creation

I always joke that I am a terrible writer because I am too social. I need to force myself to say no to social events and even to phone calls with my mother. When I am at work I have to focus and I can’t do that if anyone can just walk in and steal my time. The days I work for hours are the hardest for me. I get sick of myself! But that’s part of the deal sometimes.

6. Clear Your Mind to Create

Don’t get too wrapped up in what’s coming out of you. It’s like a rainbow, the harder you look at it, the more faded it appears. Let your mind be light.

5. Create Like No One Will See It

In that same vein, create like your piece will never be judged or critiqued. I still choke up when I am working because I imagine some faceless person somewhere saying “This isn’t good enough,” “this will never get published” or even worse a friend knowing something intimate about me and saying, “wow that’s embarrassing.” See what comes out of you when you truly believe no one will ever see it.

4. There Will Always Be Someone Better

And we should embrace that. Otherwise, who will we learn from?

3. Be Proud of Your Creativity and Work

There were many years of my working career (I have a day job) when I refused to share my writing life with anyone else. It was a secret. But the moment I started calling myself a writer AT ALL TIMES, I started creating my best work.

2. Find Creativity Everywhere

You can be creative in many ways. Not just in your own self prescribed way. Last week I finally moved some furniture around and got rid of some old pieces I hated and my mind felt liberated. I had found creative ways to solve a problem and ever since, I love that room.

1. Creativity Doesn’t Need “Success” 

Forget about accolades and awards. Be creative for the simple feeling you get from enjoying it. Celebrate yourself first. And then, when you’re feeling really good, yeah, submit to some awards.

 

THRIVE is answered by Amanda Kusek, a poet, blogger, and dog mom living in NYC.