Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Baby steps to fruitful creativity

Welcome to my bi-weekly e-musings!

So this is my first attempt at writing a blog that I dreamed up while on holiday in New Zealand.  My initial idea is to diarize the journey from being a corporate career person to becoming a full-time, productive artist by recording my thoughts and experiences.

What triggered the idea was when a friend sent me a link to a webtalk given by author Elizabeth Gilbert  – where she talks about creativity and her theory about where artists find their inspiration.  She pointed back to Roman times, where artists were seen as messengers of the Divine – she suggested that this might very well be a more acceptable perspective, given the immense pressures that creative individuals are subjected to today – especially after their initial success.  Many writers or artists suffer from addictions, psychological difficulties and even suicide due to these pressures.

Elizabeth’s point of view had a profound impact on me, because when I am at my most creative, whether I am writing a song or doing a painting – I always have a sense of an amazing, loving presence keeping me company during these hours.  And if I haven’t been creative for a while, I always have a sense of longing to experience this presence again…  Almost as if a small voice in the back of my head keeps calling me to come away – sometimes in the craziest of places – like around a dinner table with friends or in the middle of a business meeting.

And therefore the name for this blog - “In pursuit of the Muse".  It will focus on the journey and practice of growing into a productive, full-time artist.  Now that I have made a radical change from corporate professional to full-time artist – this pursuit becomes critical because I feel that my creativity will need to bear fruit in order to justify this change.

I guess the first thing that needs to change in order for me to be effective as an artist, is to change the way I think about myself.  I am not a Human Resources Manager nor a Psychologist.  I am a singer, musician and artist.  There it is in black and white….  When I fill in any formal documents or applications in future, this is what I need to write in the “occupation” line.  When people ask me what I do for a living – this is what I should tell them.

At this stage you might want to know what my medium or form of creative expression is…  Well, that’s another story, because I do not believe that an artist should necessarily have one medium alone.  My media or rather, creative activities, are interlinked – almost like an ecological subsystem – one feeds on the other.  I do admit that it might look like a lack of focus, or even indecisiveness on my part, but let me say in my defence that at least I am very clear about the order of priorities that these various activities take in my current creative pursuits.

1. Singing & performing
2. (Song)writing
3. Sketching, collage & painting
4. Playing piano
5. Playing flute
6. Photography

I might surprise myself and find in my blogging, that the amount of time I dedicate to these respective forms of expressions point to a surprisingly different order of priority.  Should that be the case, then so be it – this would be part of what I need to discover in my pursuit of the muse.

I believe the only way for me to ensure that I grow in my craft and become productive, is to plan and structure my week.  If I don’t, it becomes very easy to meet fellow artists and friends for coffee or get bogged down in domestic chores because I have suddenly become more flexible and available with my time. So here is an outline of activities for a typical week:

Mornings – Vocal coaching; Afternoons – Administration, planning gigs & marketing; Evenings – Music theory
Mornings – Sketching & painting; Afternoons: - Vocal coaching of students; Evenings - Blogging
Mornings – Vocal exercises & developing my repertoire; Afternoons – Vocal coaching of students
Mornings – Spiritual practice (Waiting on God); Afternoons – Piano & flute practice, songwriting (I need more original music!!!)
Social meetings

I should view these activities as non-negotiable and not allow myself to be lured away.  This is what my job entails now!

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