The Discipline of Creativity

Photo by Soundtrap on Unsplash

Creativity and discipline are often viewed as rivals. But are they really? What if discipline and creativity are allies and discipline is the key characteristic that makes it possible for creatives — writers, musicians, painters, dancers, stylists, poets, chefs, and curators — to have lasting impact?

I had the chance to interview a social media influencer who is known for offering skits that provide a peak into Christian female singleness in all of its awkward glory. Known on social media as JustWhiti, Whitney is truly gifted with the grace of jest. Through the interview I discovered and offer these gems that have helped me reconsider the relationship between discipline and creativity:

  1. Intentionality is the bridge between ideation and execution: As a creative, you may have an abundance of ideas to benefit your sphere of influence, but what systems exist to move you from idea to completion? Some systems may include a schedule, an accountability buddy or group who helps you commit to executing your idea, and/or a reward system that is life-giving.
  2. Authenticity will distinguish you from others: How do you show up in a meeting? On social media? In conversation with friends? Your ability to be uniquely you in a range and across spaces will attract (and propel) the right people. There is room to be grateful for those who stay and leave.
  3. Pressure is often a self-made construct but can be healthy: The pressure to achieve a certain number of likes or to post the “best” content on a particular day is pressure that is self-made and encourages comparison and competition rather than creativity and thriving. Let’s take a collective sigh of relief and recognize that this type of pressure is unhealthy. But whatever your medium is — pastry arts, dance, song, poetry, comedy — do embrace healthy pressure to live out your gift with intention. Healthy pressure might mean waking up early (or on time rather than sleeping in) to have more time to work, produce or research new ideas. This type of pressure can help cultivate discipline that leads to growth. Please note rest is essential so please get enough of it, but you may want to guard and monitor the line between practicing self-care and engaging in inactivity toward pursuing your goals.

The last point may be the most important:

4. Consistency is key: Whitney has not simply been sharing content since 2015, but has been a faithful steward of these ideas through execution. Without striving for perfection or needing to control the outcome, her consistency has helped open doors she would have never anticipated. The same can be true for you.

What is one step you can take today to be more disciplined in your expression of creativity? And what pressure do you need to let go of to live more fully in creativity?

You can begin today. I’m cheering for you!

And when you need a laugh, check out JustWhiti. She’s HILARIOUS!!!

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