There are three kinds of creative practice for creative entrepreneurs and to make a living doing what you love, you’ll need to understand and practice them all.
It’s not a small goal, what you want to do: turn your passion into sufficient profit to make a living.
And so it will ask some big asks of you.
You’ll have to grow and stretch and transform. You’ll have to work well, play well and rest well. You’ll have to learn new things, experiment and explore, try and fail and try again until you get it right. You’ll have to put yourself out there in ways that make you feel uncomfortable.
That’s all okay, more than okay. It’s good.
But sometimes it can be daunting.
Sometimes we can become overwhelmed or anxious. We can find ourselves stuck, unable to move. We can resist and self-sabotage.
Creative practice is the way out of anxiety and resistance and all the other things that can block us and cause resistance.
What Is Creative Practice?
When I was a girl, I studied piano and took classes from a crusty old nun in my convent school, who would hit me on the back of the hands with her ruler if she knew I hadn’t done the exercises she’d set me the week before. “Practice!” she would insist, as she smacked the flat of the wood across my knuckles. “You’ll never be any good if you don’t practice!”
This is core practice and what most people mean when they use the word “practice”—we practice the piano, practice our golf swing, practice our speech so that we get better at doing them, and can deliver the goods when needed.
Core practice is key, yes, but two other equally important kinds of creative practice are often neglected and underplayed.
Wherever you find a successful creativepreneur, you find somebody who has also embedded flow-practice and creative business practice.
Three Kinds of Creative Practice: #1 Core Practice
Core practice is the activity that forms the core of our business. In my case, it’s writing; in yours, perhaps art, or counselling, or web developing, or activism… The activity that meets your raison d’etre, your passion, your purpose, that’s connected to your business identity and brand and micro-niche.
We’ve had much research over recent years that shows us how important it is. Genius, once thought to be a sign of somebody exceptionally favored by the Gods, has been revealed as the outcome of this kind of deliberate practice.
Three Kinds of Creative Practice: #2 Creative Business Practice
As well as working in your business, on your particular activity, you need to work on your business if you are to grow it to a point where you can earn your living from it.
But conventional business activities and processes often don’t suit creative entrepreneurs. We define success in creative as well as commercial terms and work from different drives and values to the conventional business world.
Ambivalent, paradox-embracing approaches to thinking and making are rarely valued in business circles. Corporate concepts, the inappropriate use of scientific tools of analysis or scientistic terms of reference; the jargon of business and industry and the time constraints under which work is supposed to be done all mitigate against taking creative approach to business.
There are principles of conscious creation that we never learned at school and a psychology for creative success that is not yet widely known.
If you’re not having the success you want, or finding it all too hard, or want to make a transition but finding yourself pulled back, again and again, it may well be because you’re a creative type trying to force yourself into doing business in conventional ways that don’t suit you.
You’re stuck, unable to take the steps you need to take next. Or you don’t have a clue which move to make.
The way out of this is Creative Business Practice. You can find a summary in this post about the sequence of creative success and my forthcoming books go into it all in a user-friendly way. (You can pre-order here)
1: Creative Business Practice: GO PASSIONATE to Create
Work out what you want to make of yourself and who you want to offer it to.
2: Creative Business Practice: GO PACED To Produce
Understand that rest and play are not breaks from the process, they are the process.
3: Creative Business Practice: GO PITCH To Inspire
Compose and learn a written pitch that gives a powerful answer to the question “What do you do”, communicating your value with clarity, in a way that inspires action.
4: Creative Business Practice: GO PRODUCE ASSETS to Earn
See which assets you’ve already created, check how they’re working for you (fun, unique, impactful? you? valuable? scalable?) and decide what to drop, what to refine and what to make next.
5: Creative Business Practice: GO WITH THE PROCESS To Further Flow
Find out which stage you’re at with each project/product and with your overall enterprise
6: Creative Business Practice: GO PUBLISH To Grow Profile, Discoverability and Authority
Create credibility and discoverability in your chosen field with your own media: books, blogs, articles, white papers, social media updates.
7: Creative Business Practice: GO PARTNER to Expand
Create opportunities by partnering with high performers.
Three Kinds of Creative Practice: #3 Flow Practice
Does it all sound exhausting? Daunting? Impossible even? When it’s all written out, as it is above, yes it does.
But that’s not how it happens. How it happens is one step at a time.
And with the Go Creative! books and the Creativist Club to support you, one guided step at a time.
These use creative mapping and logging, so we know what we’re trying to achieve each quarter, each month, each week, each day, each 90 minute work, rest or play session.
They also–because they are creative maps not conventional planners–leave plenty of room for divergences, no-shows and scenic routes, while still upping production.
But without flow practice, we may still find ourselves stuck or struggling. That we resist or self-sabotage. That we suffer some form of creative business block.
What Is Creative Flow Practice?
Flow practices are a bit mysterious. You meditate or f-r-e-e-write or go on a create-date and wonder: how can this be making me more creative? Shouldn’t I be doing some real work?
Yet these seemingly aimlss practices that move us away from our daily activity and mindset and immerse us in the open, thought-free condition called the create-state, make us far more productive than an over-developed work ethic ever can.
Doing creative business the creative way is a matter of connecting to our own processes, our own ideas and insights and imaginings. We do this by cultivating the create-state regularly, and then getting out of our own way, so flow can surface and… well… flow.
As creativepreneurs, we’re stripped of this great source of personal power by conventional business thinking.
Regular flow practice reverses that loss.
I use four flow practices regularly: one for body (Effortless Exercise), one for mind (F-R-E-E-Writing), one for spirit (Inspiration Meditation), all of which I try to do daily.
[And now I practice two of these online, on Mondays through Thursdays, with other conscious creatives from The Creativist Club. If you’d like to join us: more details here]
I also enjoy a weekly flow practice called The Create Date.
Flow practice benefits us all but lots of creatives resist it. You will find it particularly useful if you are in need of:
- MORE CREATIVE AUTONOMY: You’re not in touch with your true wants. You’re dancing to somebody else’s tune, being led by craving, compulsion or procrastination. Result: You’re resisting or self-sabotaging.
- MORE CREATIVE ACCEPTANCE: You resist release or surrender. You’ve been told it’s passive or weak, rather than what it is: the core of creative strength. Result: You’re drained or exhausted.
- MORE CREATIVE PRESENCE: You can’t summon creative presence. You don’t know how to induce the create-state, how to let your sub-conscious do the heavy lifting. Result: You’re pushing or striving too hard.
- MORE CREATIVE FOCUS: You can’t settle. You haven’t learned, in a distracting and fast-moving world, how to channel the power of your creative attention. Result: You’re over-stretched or distracted
- MORE CREATIVE COURAGE: You’re short on spirit. You need more support to experiment with your life, learn from failure, put yourself out there…so you can take risks from a place of safety. Result: You’re pulling back or shying away.
- MORE CREATIVE FAITH: You don’t trust the process. You haven’t practiced your own way enough yet to relax into creative conviction. Result: You’re doubting or dithering.
Three Kinds of Creative Practice: Next Steps
Always begin with #3. It puts you in the right place. Find your own practice, or join us each Monday to Thursday morning here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/creativist.club