I believe that tapping into your creativity is one of the most empowering things you can do...when you aren’t fighting yourself every step of the way.
I wrote this manifesto to have more compassion towards myself, and more patience with the creative process.
Wherever you are in your creative journey (whether or not you want to make a career out of it), I hope that this manifesto will give you an extra boost of encouragement and ideas to help you cultivate your creative life.
1. I will not compare myself to others
I have many, MANY, days where I feel less talented than others. And being even more honest, I do have some days where I feel more talented than others.
But what I have learned is that thinking that you are better or worse than someone are really just 2 sides of the same coin. Either way you are judging and ultimately, disempowering someone.
I will work on honoring my own creative sovereignty, and the creative sovereignty of others.
And know that at the end of the day, it is not my job to judge. It is my job to create.
2. I will not put pressure on my creativity to pay the bills (at first)
I affirm that I am clever and resourceful and that I can find other ways to support myself while building my creative career.
I will not kill my art by demanding too much from it.
I will move forward strategically and responsibly, building a solid foundation for my career.
So I can create from inspiration - not desperation.
3. I will live a balanced life
I will not let music or any other part of my life completely consume me. I will cultivate a healthy balance between building my music career, eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, spending time with family and friends, and making time for recreation and relaxation.
The truth is, no successful career is worth working 10 hours a day, getting only 5 hours of sleep, binging on junk food, or completely isolating yourself from friends and family.
I set the intention to create and live a balanced life. I know that I won’t always be perfect, but I will have compassion towards myself when I do get off track, and then lovingly bring myself back into balance.
4. I affirm my courage in the face of critics
I accept the inevitable fact that my work will be criticized… but at the end of the day, I know that I have infinitely more courage and resilience than my critics; I am the one putting myself out there. They are not.
5. I affirm that my creativity is limitless
I will no longer put myself down for not being clever and creative enough. I affirm that as long as I am alive and breathing, I am a creative being.
6. I will dance with the butterflies
Someone once told me that ideas are like butterflies. They are always flying around us, but many of us don’t notice them.
A true creative notices the butterfly… and chooses to dance with it.
What I’ve learned is that creativity isn’t so much about sitting down and forcing yourself to come up with ideas, but rather noticing these delicate, fleeting pieces of inspiration throughout your day…and choosing to dance with them. Writing them down on napkins, recording them on your phone.
I will no longer partition my life into creative time and uncreative time, but rather treat the whole of it as an ever-unfolding creative experience.
7. I will not let others define me; I will define me
Throughout my life, I have been given many labels:
The quiet one
The smart one
The shy one
People have assumed that I wanted to be a doctor or engineer when I literally had NEVER mentioned that. Ever.
I have had to explain to incredulous people over the years that:
“Yes, I WAS in the school play”
“Yes, I AM in a band”
“Yes, I AM in a relationship! (you thought I was lying??)
For years, I felt like I would never be able to break out of this box that people had put me in…that I would always be fighting to convince people I was something more.
But a year ago, a friend told me that you just can’t wait for other people to define your identity - YOU need to define it.
So, in this moment, I define myself to be a singer-songwriter - even if it makes me feel uncomfortable, even if I feel I can’t live up to it.
Because if I DON’T, no one else will.
8. I will not view creativity as a competition, but as a collaboration:
I am not in competition with anyone and I refuse to adopt the mentality that I somehow have to claw my way to the top, especially in the music business.
In truth, there is more than enough room in the world for creatives of every kind at every level. And every creative piece only helps to enrich this large, crazy, diverse creative tapestry.
I affirm that there IS a place for my music in the world and in the greater creative landscape.
9. I will focus on long-term versus short-term success
I am not in a rush, and I am not trying to achieve success before a certain age. We live in a world filled with timelines and deadlines, a world that puts an expiration date on our bodies and abilities…but true creativity is timeless.
A good song is a good song whether it was written 50 years ago or 5 years ago, by a 25- year old or a 65-year old. True creativity transcends all these things.
So I will keep creating. I will keep honing my skills. I will keep experimenting. And I will let my career unfold naturally and organically.
10. I will be authentic, not perfect
Having struggled with perfectionism my whole life, I was constantly ashamed of sharing my music - with anyone.
So I didn’t… for 4 years.
But I have recently discovered that it’s not perfection that touches people - it’s authenticity.
And perhaps, we don't see a lot of authenticity in our day-to-day lives. I think that most of us spend so much time creating a perfect façade, that we have, in a way, been desensitized to our humanity.
We have been made fun of for caring too much about certain things - for being too emotional, passionate, sentimental, cheesy, dramatic, or weird.
But those are precisely the feelings where art - good art – lives. Good art strips down all of the superficiality, all the facades, and lays bare the artist’s humanity.
And when we see someone else’s humanity, we connect with our own.
So I will be authentic.
I will be raw.
And I will be real.
And I will know that at the end of the day, these are the only goals truly worth pursuing.
So I now I want to know...what do you think? Did anything stand out to you? Would you add anything else to the manifesto? Please like, share, or comment below! :)