How to Re-inspire Your Artist

I am an artist. I am primarily a performer. Being on stage was my first love and passion. When I’m on stage, something else entirely takes over.

I am powerful. I am confident. I am electric.

I act. I sing. I dance. I majored in theater in college. It was not only my major, but my entire life. I loved college because I was literally doing my PASSION 24/7. I would have classes from 8 am to 5 pm every single day and then rehearsal from 6 pm to 10 pm right after that.

It was four years of long and hard days, but I was so grateful to be doing what I loved every single day.

I went from being in the college setting and creating and collaborating to graduating, leaving behind my artistic community and suddenly feeling like I had no creative outlet.

I started to feel like I was an artist fraud. I couldn’t call myself an actor, because I hadn’t acted in months! I hadn’t gone on any auditions! I hadn’t sang or practiced my vocal warm ups in ages so how could I call myself a singer?! I hadn’t taken any dance lessons and I was losing all my technique so I can’t be a dancer!

I started working at an office in a theater, but I wasn’t performing, I wasn’t creating. I felt like I had already given up my dream of being an artist before I had even started. I had just spent the last four years studying how to be an artist and had instead graduated to let all of that go and sit at a desk for 8 hours a day.

It was a hard transition, and I’m still figuring it out as I go, but I am realizing that it was just that – a transition.

I am not an artist fraud. I was born an artist and no matter what I do throughout my life, I will always be an artist. Nobody and nothing can take that away from me.

Creativity doesn’t have to look like practicing musical theater songs in a room for several hours a day. Creativity is living and putting what you learn into use, reflecting it right back into the world.

Here are some outlets I turned to – to reinspire my artist to remind me that I am in this for the marathon and not the sprint.

  • Podcasts – Listening to podcasts about theater artists completely reinspired my artist. Some of the ones I listen to are The Compass by Leah Walsh, Office Hours with Kate Lumpkin, and The Geffen Playhouse: Unscripted. Listening to these not only help me feel more connected with the theater community at large, but I also learn so much in each episode. The Compass is an interview based podcast about how artists deal with the “dark side” and how they stay inspired. From the rituals they do to different companies they mention, I constantly get new ideas of places to work and things I can do as an artist. It is so helpful knowing that you’re not alone and understanding that this is a hard business – even people at the top have the same struggles that people have at the bottom.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

  • Read Plays – This is one of the easiest and biggest things you can do to help reinspire your artist! When I was in this “artist fraud funk” I just started reading as many plays as I could. I love stories and discovering new playwrights. Plays are so nice because if you’re a fast reader, they can usually be read in about an hour since they are short and compact.

I was always taught to read plays to find new monologues. Throughout college, whenever I needed a new monologue, I would frantically flip through random plays searching for big chunks of text that I could use. This is so not the way to do it. Instead, take this “reinspiring your artist” time, to just read any play you want for fun.

Not only will you discover new playwrights and fascinating new characters (and naturally you will find new monologues) you are also going to be discovering what kind of theater you like. What plays you liked and didn’t like. What kind of theater excites you. What kind of stories you are attracted to. This will serve you so much more in the longer run.

I keep a google spreadsheet of all the plays I’ve read with a little description on what it was about, characters I could play, and why  I liked/didn’t like it. Now whenever a casting notice comes out, I will keep out an eye for the plays that I know I could be cast in and for the stories I want to be telling!

Tip: If you’re looking for more plays to read, buy a membership to the National New Play Exchange. It’s only $10/year and you get access to SO many new playwrights and their scripts that you can download and read!

  • Create your own work – Just do it! Write your own play, write your own monologue, dance for yourself, dream up magical new worlds and lives and just work from that inspiration alone.

Don’t know what type of story you want to tell? Then just start writing. Write anything, it doesn’t matter what it is, and see what comes up. I started doing my morning pages every day from The Artist’s Way Course and you’re supposed to write 3 pages every single morning. It doesn’t matter what it’s about, just write 3 pages. It sounds incredibly difficult but it’s amazing what a difference it has made in my life and how it’s inspired me to create my own work.

Use this time to discover again, what kind of stories you want to tell, what kind of art you want to produce and what speaks to your soul.

I am learning deeper everyday what kind of theater I’m interested in and it has given me such a clearer and more focused point of view as an artist in today’s world.

  • Do something totally different than your regular art medium – This is basically how this blog started. I started it because I needed a creative outlet, but to be honest, doing vocal warmups every day or practicing monologues, or finding new repertoire for auditions did not sound exciting or fulfilling to me at all. I felt like I was kind of avoiding it all and wanted to do something entirely different and exciting, yet still creative.

Having this blog has not only given me a place to share my thoughts and ideas, but it has totally reinspired my artist and given me a clearer direction of what type of artist I am and how I can help people through my art. It completely fills that void of expressing myself creatively and I’m having such a fun time doing it.

Sometimes taking a break from your usual creative activity is so necessary to change up your perspectives and find different, yet still fulfilling forms of creative expression.

From this, I’ve reinvigorated my love for poetry and totally want to start writing my own songs and composing music.

  • Keep yourself educated – Just like listening to podcasts help me feel connected to the theater community, so does keeping myself educated about the industry. It is so imperative to know what kind of work is going on, who is getting produced where, what kind of players are involved, what kind of people to look out for, etc.

Just being in the know will make you feel 100 times more legitimate and less of a fraud because you are caring enough about your art to you keep yourself educated.

Some great resources are:

-Broadway Briefing – a newsletter that updates you on everything from box office sales to opening night events to regional theater season’s.

-Playbill.com – the website for everything from jobs to the latest news in the theater industry

-Actor’s Access – a casting breakdown site where you can see what auditions are going on so you can stay on top of what type of work is getting produced!

-Google alerts – If you’re interested in a particular theater company or person that is doing the kind of work you want to be doing – set up a google alert so that you will be notified anytime they are in the news.

Whether you’re an actor, performer, writer, painter, singer, dancer, casting director, etc. I hope you got something out of this post because even if you’re not directly immersed in your craft every day like you can be at school or during a job if you’re lucky enough to be getting paid for your art, you are and always will be an artist. There are so many things you can do ON YOUR OWN to nurture that fire, tend to it, and keep it glowing.

 

 

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