You probably have heard me talk at length about finding our personal “why” when it comes to making art.
And for good reason.
See, not every artist will constantly feel inspired to create art – they can sometimes lose steam in their motivation, finding themselves in a creative slump of sorts – wallowing in states of frustration, self-loathing, and worst of all, doubt in their own artistic abilities.
Other artists, especially super beginner ones, tend to hold back because of some irrational fear of failure – giving them a false narrative of insecurity and prevents them from even starting something.
This happens to all artists.
And what keeps many artists from growing and moving forward is not tuning into their creative WHY. Here is a video that dives into how we find our creative why to get us on the inspirational journey once again!
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See, someone’s why is their personal, emotional urge to do something. It has nothing to do with tangible goals, accomplishments, wealth, or any external factors. Instead, it’s a simple itch within the artist – an itch that must be recognized and must be scratched.
So how do you go about finding what your creative why is?
I have gotten some questions concerning the discovery of our creative why – a big one being, “I am not that profound of a person and simply cannot spiritually dive that deep to figure it out”.
Let me tell you that is a bunch of baloney. Seriously.
Our why for doing what we do is quite the opposite of profound. It is simple. It taps onto an emotional trigger. It’s not a complicated, cosmic tapping into the universe, but rather an inward reflection of why you do what you do.
And, I am going to show you a simple exercise I use to help me uncover my deep emotional WHY – and will fill in my own response to help illustrate my point. But please take this time to fill in with your own reasons too.
To begin, we need to first ask ourselves…
Why do you like making art?
sure, it’s a simple question, but it gets the ball rolling. Why do you like making art?
“I like making art because I want to practice my skills and make pretty things“
once you have answered the first question, ask why again.
Why do you want to practice your skills and make pretty things?
and again, answer the question.
“because I want to improve as an artist and be proud of my work.“
ok, we are getting warmer! We are starting to hit a more emotional aspect of our why “pride in my work”. It’s close to an emotional trigger, so let’s keep digging.
Why do you want to be proud of your work?
“because I want to leave a lasting impact on the world”
Why do you want to leave a lasting impact?
“because I do not want to be silent and forgotten. I want to be remembered.“
BOOM, there it is.
In just a few simple steps of simply asking WHY, I was able to uncover a deep, emotional response to my reasons for creating art. I want to be remembered. It sure beats “because I like to make pretty things”.
See the difference here?
So you found your WHY. Who cares?
Finding our why is so incredibly necessary for us as artists because its a tool and weapon against all the fear and self-doubt we will inevitably encounter in our creative journey.
In those dark times when I feel hopeless, insecure, and lost, I always need to turn to my emotionally-charged why to help lift the fog and light a fire under my butt.
In the end, your why needs to be louder than your fears. Simple as that.
If your why isn’t getting you out of a slump or motivating you enough, you probably haven’t tapped into your emotional trigger, and I would suggest trying the exercise above again. And this is OK too.
It’s not always easy to find our creative why. Sometimes it takes several failed attempts to really uncover it. What counts is you are taking those steps to arm yourself with purpose and the necessary emotional weapons to keep you going strong as an artist.
Because the biggest failure we can do as artists is to give up and forever lose our voices.
You cannot afford to do that.
So, what did you think of my tip on tapping into your emotional why? How do you find your creative reasons for making art? Comment below and let me know!
Amanda is a self-taught artist and founder of The Buzzed Artist, dedicated to teaching adult beginners how to art with confidence using acrylic paint and love themselves in the creation process. If you want to get started right with acrylic painting, be sure to enroll in her FREE mini-course The Acrylic Artist’s Toolkit.