Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Last year, I spoke at Creative Mornings in Ottawa on the theme of honesty with oneself. I discussed how becoming honest with myself (initially through techniques I learned via The Artist’s Way) was what first opened me up creatively and then later kickstarted my career. I have never been the type of person who is great at faking it; there’s no way I can walk around in this world, pretending like something is a breeze when my twitching eye reveals otherwise (I also wear my heart on my sleeve).
So I know that any time I am promoting myself and my work, it’s important that I am honest about how I came about it and I do think this is a strength in today’s climate. We’re past the first wave of the internet and social media, where people could hide behind their keyboards and adopt completely different personas. Even if they are successful for a time, the truth eventually comes out – just look at what has happened with influencers in recent years. What’s more, it’s hard to wear a different persona and keep up with appearances. It’s exhausting and unsustainable in the long-run. Which, in turn, is not helpful for maintaining your creative energy.
Now I know there is a fine line with how “honest’ we can be with one another; there are certain standards in our culture that dictate what is seen as TMI and how honest we can be with our online posts and strangers when responding to “how are you?”. But I know in your gut you get what I am referring to – to go back to that overused phrase, be authentic.
There are two advantages to being honest and upfront about who you are as a creative:
1) It will help you stand out. Being vulnerable and revealing your story is something that will always be unique to you. No one else can share the exact same thoughts, feelings and experiences you have.
2) It will make you better as an artist and creative. This is why writers are always advised to write what they know, because as above, you have a unique voice, experiences and abilities. If there was ever a time in history when it pays to be yourself, this is the one.
As with anything, be honest to the point where you can still remain protective of yourself and those close to you. But don’t be afraid to reveal the cracks underneath the surface, they’re more valuable than you may realize.