Whether you’re a painter, a writer, a sculptor or a designer of elaborate video games, you probably have those times when your creative mind could use a boost. You can’t always force artistic expression -- but you can take some steps to make it easier on yourself. If you’re struggling to make the most of your artistic expression, here are some ways to learn and grow -- and perhaps even to sell some more work.
See also: Top 10 Careers That Encourage Creativity
1. Map out when you're most creative
Some people work best when they first get up in the mornings; others enjoy working late at night. Others, meanwhile, don’t really pay attention, and thus simply work whenever the mood strikes them. That’s one way to do it -- but if you get a bit more methodical about your process, you might find that you’ll actually get more done. The LifeHacker site has a lot of great ideas for how to do this, including writing down the time of day when you make a note about a project you want to create or an idea you have -- thus giving you a sense of what times of day you’re more creative. Also try creating a spreadsheet with the hours of the day listed in half-hour increments. Throughout the day, write down what you’re doing during that time. Over time, you’ll get a sense of when you’ve done your best work.
2. Arrange your schedule around your creativity
By following the above step, you’ll have a good idea about when you get your best work done. Now comes the part where you rearrange your schedule to free up those times. If you want to make the most of your artistic expression, you have to reserve those times for creativity at all costs. Skip the morning workout if that’s the time when you’re most creative -- you can exercise later. If you’re highly creative right around dinnertime, push back the family meal, or make it earlier in the day so that everyone else in your household is settled in and you can get to work. Rearrange meetings or other scheduled activities so they don’t interfere with your creative times.
3. Commune with other creatives
Even if you’re the type who does her best work when completely alone, there’s something to be said for collaboration. Being around other creative people can help you learn how they operate and the tools they use to improve their craft -- not to mention the possibilities for getting feedback or even collaborating on projects. Even if you’re inclined towards being a working hermit, make an effort to be in a collaborative creative space on a fairly regular basis. Join an artist’s collective at which you can spend a few hours a week, or find a club designed to provide feedback from your fellow artists. Ideally, find people who are involved in similar pursuits, but also people who do things that are completely different, so you can gain all types of perspectives.
4. Own what you do
As an artistic person, you may be inclined to try new things and experiment with many types of art. That’s great for your spirit -- but in terms of making a living from your work, you may need to stick to just a few things. Experimentation and exploration can be fuel for the soul, but you may find you’re spreading yourself too thin. Find something you do well and continue doing it.
5. Use all the promotional tools you can
On the practical side, you need to be able to sell your work if you want to allow it to feed you -- so that means sharing your craft with as many people as possible. You should definitely have social media profiles that display your artistic expression, as well as a website where people can find out more about you. In addition, look for any free or low-cost promotional tools at your disposal in your community. Attend art shows, music events, lectures and other events where you can meet people interested in the arts. Network with the people who run the local art centers in your area as you might get a chance to have a show. And even though it might seem really "business-like," have business cards you can pass out to any interested party. That way, any place where you strike up a conversation about your work is a place where you’ll be able to spread the word about who you are and what you do.
See also: How to Pursue a Career in the Arts
Making the most of your artistic expression means nurturing your craft, finding ways to make yourself as efficient as possible, and then getting the word out as much as you can. With those pieces in place, you may be well on your way toward a successful career in the arts.