Sometimes I tell myself I'm not a creative person. I have all these standards I use to measure what it means to be creative or live a creative life. When I use that metric, it's rare that I actually measure up.
I tend to be a perfectionist. And I tend to bite off more than I can chew.
I have 4 different conceptual series "in progress" that I've barely worked on, a diptych, and a more involved individual piece with enough personal significance that I can't just set it aside. Then there's all the unfinished works in progress.
At the moment I'm in the middle of reading 12 books, and writing/editing 15, along with 2 artsy books (one of which I haven't started, only made some plans for) and 2 mini-ebook freebies.
There are more writing projects waiting. And a book full of image ideas I haven't yet created.
And that's not counting the 4-8 blogs I'd like to be working on, or the handful of children's book ideas.
I'd also like to start a podcast. And build a creative community. And work on coaching.
Then there's YouTube, social media, and all those time consuming things.
There's so much I don't know, and so much I want to learn.
I overwhelm myself.
And because I'm not keeping up with it all, somehow in my mind I deem myself not really a creative person. Which then just sends me down the spiral of imposter syndrome, driven by an unattainable perfectionism.
"You can do anything, but not everything."
At the beginning of the year, this quote kept coming to mind. I've taken on too much, and it's time to prioritize and choose.
Being creative isn't about getting everything done all at once. That slow and incremental progress is important. But it happens one step at a time. Choosing one thing, and doing that one thing well, before moving on to the next.
I'm not so good at that. My mind likes to jump around. I'm pulled between so many projects that more often than not, I get nothing done at all.
And since I'm not producing a finished product, the cycle continues with me telling myself I'm not actually creative.
That thought sometimes makes me feel silly for trying to show up at all.
I do care about my creative work. Maybe I care a little too much. That's why it affects me the way it does when I don't get all these things done.
With more clarity, I recognize that better boundaries need to be set. Boundaries are meant to protect, and I haven't done a good job lately at protecting my creative projects.
My priorities need to shift.
Creativity is at work each time we show up and try something new. Each time we sit down and work on a project (whether or not it's completed), that is a result of creativity and determination to try.
I don't know where you're at in your creative journey, or if you're feeling burned out, or overwhelmed, or if you too struggle with perfectionism and imposter syndrome.
But here's what I do know: Each of us is born creative. We have so much creativity inside us. Are you willing to show up for yours?