Lately, I’ve been pondering a concept that’s crucial for any creative professional: accountability. It’s a bold statement, but hear me out. When I talk about being a professional, I’m not just referring to earning money from your craft. It’s about the satisfaction of completing and excelling in your work. That’s what separates the pros from the amateurs.
The Essence of Creative Autonomy
In the realm of creativity, Patti Smith stands as a beacon of self-driven artistry. Her approach is a masterclass in self-accountability. In her world, creativity is not a passive waiting game for inspiration; it’s an active pursuit. Smith’s disciplined routine, where she dedicates time daily to her art, exemplifies the essence of professional accountability. She doesn’t rely on external prompts or deadlines; her commitment to her craft is self-imposed and unwavering.
Her artistic journey is not confined to a single medium. Smith fluidly moves between writing, music, and visual arts, each discipline informing and enriching the others. This versatility is not just about artistic exploration; it’s a strategic approach to maintaining creative momentum. When one avenue feels stagnant, she pivots to another, ensuring a constant flow of creative output.
But why does this matter to us? Patti Smith’s method teaches us a vital lesson: the heart of sustained creativity lies in self-discipline and the willingness to embrace multiple avenues of expression. Her story is a testament to the power of self-accountability in nurturing and sustaining a creative career. It’s a reminder that our artistic journey is ours to propel, and the responsibility to keep moving forward lies within us.
The Power of Professional Accountability
Professional accountability is not about external validation; it’s about setting standards for yourself and meeting them consistently. It’s about creating a system that ensures you’re not just busy, but productive. This could mean setting daily, weekly, or monthly goals. For instance, if you’re a photographer, it could be taking a certain number of shots per week or learning a new technique. For writers, it could be writing a set number of words daily. The key is to have clear, measurable goals and a system to track your progress.
Integrating accountability into your creative process requires intentionality. It’s about finding what works for you. Some creatives thrive on public accountability, like sharing their goals on social media or a blog. Others may prefer a more private approach, like a one-on-one check-in with a mentor or peer. The key is consistency. Whether it’s a weekly review of your goals or a daily check-in with a fellow creative, make accountability a non-negotiable part of your routine.
The Challenge of Starting
Starting can be daunting, but it’s also where the magic happens. The key is to break down your project into small, manageable tasks. This approach reduces overwhelm and makes the process less intimidating. For example, if you’re working on a large painting, start with sketches or a small section of the canvas. If you’re writing a book, focus on one chapter or even one page at a time. Remember, progress, no matter how small, is still progress.
This week, I challenge you to start that project you’ve been putting off. Set a small, achievable goal for yourself. It could be as simple as brainstorming ideas, drafting an outline, or gathering materials. The act of starting, no matter how small the step, is a victory in itself. Celebrate these small wins; they are the building blocks of your larger creative achievements.
Sharing Your Journey
The role of a creative community in fostering accountability cannot be overstated. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who are also striving to grow in their craft can be incredibly motivating. Consider joining or forming mastermind groups, attending workshops, or participating in online forums. These platforms offer not just accountability, but also valuable feedback, new perspectives, and a sense of belonging. Remember, the right community can be a catalyst for your creative growth.
Sharing your journey serves two purposes: it holds you accountable and inspires others. When you share your progress, challenges, and successes, you’re not only reinforcing your commitment to your goals but also encouraging others in their creative pursuits. Use your platform, whether it’s a blog, social media, or a community forum, to document and share your journey. This transparency not only builds your credibility but also creates a support system for mutual growth.
In a community, every individual’s growth contributes to the collective development. By sharing resources, insights, and experiences, we create a rich, supportive environment that benefits all members. Engage actively in your community. Offer feedback, share your expertise, and be open to learning from others. Remember, a community thrives on give and take.