You Have Creative Entitlement

Last week my dad posted pictures of a Paint Nite he went to at a local cafe.  The photos looked like everyone was having a grand ole’ time, his painting was actually really cool.  But this is what he commented on the Facebook album:

“This was a great night
Try it you may be surprised at how artistic you are
I’m not ha ha ha”

“creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.” Elizabeth Gilbert

My heart broke a little when I read this.  Who told my dad that he’s not artistic?  What made him think that?  Yes, I believe that art is an experiment and sometimes it fails, but that doesn’t give anybody (including ourselves) the right to take away our membership in the artistic club.

My dad is artistic.  He creates really beautiful fishing flies.  Just mention his work of fly tying and watch his eyes light up.  Sit a moment as he winds his threads and hear him talking to himself passionately about what he is doing.

 Many times I’ve overheard him quietly say “Oh ya! That’s gonna look good.”

And occasionally “Oh shit!  Well that’s wrecked.”

Both statements are evidence of some pretty strong attachment to his craft.

Fishing flies- Photo credit John Bowers (my dad)

Fishing flies- Photo credit John Bowers (my dad)

I’ve been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book Big Magic (warning if you happen to pick up the audio version of this book do not listen to it with your children in the car with you).  In the book Gilbert talks about creative entitlement.  She says:

creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.

Take this in friends!  Read it again!

Do you hear her message loud and clear?  Because you are alive, you have the right to be creative.  You get to imagine and invent.  You get to share your thoughts with the world and then do it again and keep putting your work out there.

There is another quote that I love from the book where Gilbert talks about how to handle people who attack your art. (insert coarse language warning here):

“Just smile sweetly and suggest – as politely as you possibly can – that they go make their own fucking art. Then stubbornly continue making yours.”

Carry on artist (because that’s what you are).

Whether you write or paint or you make the world’s best cranberry white chocolate scones (like my mother in law) or you read bedtime stories with the most amazing voices or you know how to make a bed beautifully (cause no matter how many pillows I put on there I just don’t have the knack for that) you are an artist.

Your creativity is a big part of your contribution to the world.  The things you make have an influence on those around you.  Your art is meaningful.

Embrace your creativity.  Nurture it.  Make time to sit with your craft as you would make time to have coffee with a beloved friend.

If you don’t yet have a craft then try new things.  Isn’t that part of the fun of Pinterest?

Be brave, be bold, keep putting your art out there.  You are entitled to your creativity.

How are you an artist?  Is there something new you want to try?

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