Each time we create something, however big or small, it leaves an impact on us, and our surroundings. Consider these as creative footprints, as if the world around you is a vast sandy beach and each creative step you take leaves its trace in the sand.
All the great artists and creative people in history have left significant footprints behind them, in the legacy of their work. To name just a few, think of the philosophy of Plato, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Jackson Pollock’s “Action Painting”, The Beatles’ influential Sgt. Pepper’s album, or the films of Steven Spielberg…
Each of these left huge footprints in their own fields of creativity, and we can still see the impact of all of them in the world we live in today. Maybe some of the creative work you’re doing right now is directly influenced by one of those mentioned?
Who else would you say you’re “following in the footsteps of”? Who’s work do you consider as a major influence and source of inspiration? It may not always be an obvious direct influence. For example if you’re a filmmaker, you may be influenced as much by the paintings of Mark Rothko and the music of Brian Eno as you are the films of Stanley Kubrick?
Make a list of all the people your creative work is affected by, and look at the similarities between them. Who else’s work could you explore that has similar characteristics or attributes?
Let’s return to your own creative footprints. Who do you influence with your own creativity?
This can be separated into two distinct areas. Firstly those who are directly influenced by the creative work you do, the people who read your books, listen to your music, eat from the plates you made or wear the clothes you designed.
But then there’s also a second, and possibly larger, group of people your creativity has an impact upon in a more subtle and gently absorbed way. These are the people who see you as a role model as a creative person, those who see the way you lead your life and how you make use of your creativity every day.
They can be the same people mentioned before, who directly consume your work in some way, but also think about those you come into contact with day to day -
Your friend who starting writing again for the first time in a decade after reading a short story you wrote. Your child who picked up your paints one day and started experimenting (and now frustratingly appears to be able to create in a matter of minutes what takes you days!). Or the postman who rediscovered his lifelong passion of photography after delivering your copy of “Amateur Photographer” for the 19th time…
As creative people we affect the world around us in ways we never even realise. With being creative comes a certain responsibility – a responsibility to take the message to others that creativity leads to a fulfilling life and a responsibility to do all we can to support the creative efforts of others, especially those less experienced and confident than we are.
So as you continue your creative projects and your creative life, be mindful of all the positive energy and feeling it creates in others. Create with confidence, pride and passion. You never know who may be walking in your footprints…
© Copyright 2006 Dan Goodwin.
Creativity Coach Dan Goodwin is the author of “Create Create!”, a FREE twice monthly ezine for people who want simple and powerful articles, tips and exercises to help them unleash their creative talents. Sign up right now and get your FREE “Explode Your Creativity!” Action Workbook, at http://www.CoachCreative.com.