3 Lessons I Learned From Studying Over 150 Different Artists

As artists, it’s easy to wonder if you are the only one who struggles with the creative process. It seems like everyone else has it all together. But we all struggle. Creating is hard. The question is what can we do about it?

Music marketing, music business, create your art, consistency, darren cooper

One of my goals this year is to read eight books. To some, that might not sound like a lot. (Why not twelve or more, right?) Well, compared to years past eight was a fairly lofty goal for me.

Starting out I put a list together so that I wasn’t sidetracked by the latest catchy title. One of the books I chose was Daily Rituals-How Artists Work. An interesting concept for a book. It looked at the daily rituals of over 150 different artists, across all genres.

It was fascinating. 

From Winston Churchill to Edgar Allan Poe. Emily Dickinson to Stephen King. It was inspiring reading about all of the different ways artists approach their medium. Odd sleeping patterns to specific items placed around their desk while they worked. Some took long walks while others never left their desk.

Spend time looking at history. It's a story that helps us remember we are not alone. #createyourart Click To Tweet

If there was one consistency throughout the book, it was there was no consistency. Each routine was subject to the artist themselves. No matter what era. No matter what expression.

I’m not really sure what I was expecting when I picked this book. Maybe a secret to making the creative process easier? A shortcut to success? I don’t know.

However, as I read I began to see some underlining truth about the process. It wasn’t totally obvious and I had to allow some time to process each routine. But as I sat back three truths stuck out to me.

They’re not revolutionary. They’re not sexy. They’re just true. Maybe they’ll help you like they have helped me. Mainly to allow me not feel so alone. It’s a collective “me too” from generations of creatives.

Here are three lessons I took away from Daily Rituals.

  1. Creating Is Hard

Wow. Really? That’s what I took from this book? Well yes. It was so obvious that every artist struggles. Wrestles. Sometimes even despises their art. Yet it’s something they can’t NOT do. It’s like a drug. A calling. Something deep within them beaconing for more.

Often we are made to think that we are the only ones who struggle. We could be surrounded by all kinds of creatives and still feel like we are alone. If this book did one thing for me, it said, “Hey! Me too.”

  1. All artists are NOT created equal

Again, not very revolutionary, but I think it’s something we need to hear. It’s so easy to start playing to comparison game with other artists. To allow fear to tell us our way is not the right way. We change in order to compete, instead of embracing our creative process.

Reading about these artists made it was so clear that no ritual or creative process was the same. Yet, everyone was considered successful. This help us remember the minute we start to compare is the minute we lose who we are. All artist are not created equal.

  1. Consistency is key

This was the biggest lesson I was able to take away. Each artist did one thing regardless of their routine. It didn’t matter if they got up at 5am or worked all night. If they smoked and drank more than they created. No matter what they did during the day all of them succeeded at this one thing. They showed up…everyday.

Consistency was woven throughout the book like a beautiful handmade curtain.

It was convicting. How often do I allow excuses to derail me from showing up? Most days I like the idea of creating, just not the process of creating. I believe I’m not alone in that idea. So let me say it to you, just like the artists in this book said it to me…

“Me too.”

Sometimes you just need to hear me say, me too. You are not alone. #createyourart Click To Tweet

This begs the question, what are we going to do now? The stage has been set. The bar has been raised. Now it’s our turn to step up and bring our art to the table. It’s going to be hard, that’s obvious. We must remember that our creative process is exactly that, ours. And no matter what, we have to show up…everyday. If we do that success will find us. I guarantee it.

Now go #createyourart

Question: Do you have a daily routine when it comes to creating? If so, what is it? If not, do you think you should?


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