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Lesson 17 from: Discovering Your Creative Voice

Chris Orwig

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Lesson Info

17. Identity

Next Lesson: The Amateur Spirit

Lesson Info


I like how Ernest Hemingway put it, he said that "Writing is easy, all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." And I think there are truth to those words, for any creative endeavor. If we wanna create something that's really good, we have to sit down, of course, and get to work. And then we have to try to create something which reflects the thing which courses through our veins. And it has to cost us something. One of my mentors puts it this way, he says, "Without ego, there isn't great art." And he didn't say that you need to be egotistical, what he was saying was that we need to have the sense of I. We need to know who we really are and what we prefer. And again, I give you another quote, this one by Robert Louis Stevenson, it's one of my favorites, he says, "To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive." If we wanna keep our soul alive, or our heart alive, we wanna create from that space an...

d that place. Well part of it means we have to know a bit about who we are. We have to discover, kind of, that best version of ourselves. You know how there are these multiple versions of who we are. There's the worst version, that's a version who's really tired and stressed out, maybe didn't get enough sleep, hasn't been eating well. And then we say something in a way that's a bit too rash. And then there's that best version, which takes the higher road. And to tap into that, part of that means we have that awareness of who we are, who we aren't, who we wanna be. Alright, so, how do we begin to do this? Well, we begin to do this obviously with this thread which is running throughout all of these movies, is to say, if we wanna become more creative, we have to be authentically who we are. We have to embrace that thing. One of the ways to begin to tap into that is to start to brainstorm about things that you prefer, just stuff or words or concepts. Take some time and journal and write these things down. Here are a few listed from my journal page. Wonder. Wisdom. Delight. Drive. Death. Alive. Casual. Curious. Catapult. Calm. Natural. Nutritious. Nostalgic. Simple. Saltwater. Sea. Musical. Barefoot. Fun. Familial. Friendship. Listen. Vibrant. Aloha. Analogies. Acoustic. Authentic. You get the idea. By taking time to think about some of these things, we can know what we prefer, not just with food, fashion, or sports, but some of these concepts. Some of this stuff that resonates with who we are. Another way to begin to develop and access this, is to ask this question. It's a question which was passed on to me from my sister. Now my sister is a counselor and therapist. She works with families, and college aged students, and kids. And she works with people who are facing difficulties, really of all sorts. And she asks this question when we were hanging out with with a handful of people, she said, "Hey, what would you like to evangelize in life?" and I thought, "Well, what do you mean?" You know. So I flipped the question back on her, "What would you evangelize?" and evangelize essentially means something you believe in that you would wanna share with others. And she said, "You know, with all the people that I work with, and all the difficulties that I face, I think they would be better off if they got outside more often." That was kind of a surprising answer to me. And I think there's a bit of truth to that, right? When we get outside, it puts us at ease. And so I had to come up with my own answers. And I'm encouraging you to try this yourself. Let me give you a few examples. I asked a couple people about what would they evangelize. My sister's was to get outside more often. I talked to Alex, a friend here at Creative Live, and he was saying, "You know, for me, the thing I would evangelize is to make your family time, your family time. So that when I'm with my family, I'm not thinking about work but I'm fully present and engaged." I mean that is a great truth, right? Jamie said something about being honest with yourself. "I would evangelize self honesty. If you're not happy with what you're doing, don't keep doing that thing." Chris said, you know, he said with laughter in his voice, "I would evangelize the idea of not taking life too seriously." And you get the idea, right? Sort of these core ideas which help shape who we are. If you feel like you can't come up with something, sometimes turning to different kinds of quotes, like quotes we have here can help. Here's one that I would evangelize, it's a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. "Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air." Yeah, I could get behind that. I mean, that's something that I believe in. The way I answered my sister was a little bit different. I said, "Well, I think the thing that I would share is the=is idea that there's more to life than it seems." And because I'm a photographer, I'm always thinking about that. It's not just the surface, it's what else is there? So what I want you to do is to try this exercise for yourself. You've heard a few examples, what is something that you would evangelize? It doesn't have to be the main thing, but maybe one thing. This will help you develop a sense of self, and find your own vision and voice for life, for creativity. And this will give you a sense of who you are, who you wanna be. Another way, last and final exercise, is to do, what I think of, is a yes no list. I've done this with student over the years and I found it to be very helpful. Because sometimes helpful to go to the bright side. To go, "Hey, this is the yes stuff. This is the stuff I would evangelize. This is the good stuff." But its also equally as helpful to go to the dark. Remember that quote I shared earlier, "Music to create harmony must sometimes investigate discord." It was that quote by Plutarch. So anyway, the yes no list. What does that look like? Well it looks kind of like this, or at least this is one of mine, where you write yes on one side, no on another and then you write down a bunch of words. And the thing to keep in mind with this, is that you wanna write yes to something, and then its opposite no, exactly on the other side. So let me read a couple of these for me. So yes to wood, unfinished wood, no to plastic. Yes to acoustic, no to electric. Yes to soul, no to surface. Yes to outdoors, no to inside. Yes to trees, no to buildings. Yes to Trader Joes, no to Fonz. Yes to organic, no to processed. Yes to a sailboat, no to a power boat. You get the idea. And by doing this, what it can help you do, is to find that thing that, "Yeah, this really is the thing that I like and I don't like that other one quite so much." Really valuable exercises to do. Most importantly, don't get self conscious about it, you just gotta do it right away. Thirty seconds, write down a bunch of things. Yes, no. Yes, no. Yes, no. This is what it is. And keep in mind with all of this, why are we doing this thing? We're going back to Hemingway here. Hemingway said there's nothing to write, there's nothing being creative, there's nothing to creating art, there's nothing to photography, there's nothing to design, there's nothing to being a good parent, there's nothing to any of these things. All you have to do is, as he said, is sit down at the typewriter and bleed. You gotta do that thing which courses through your veins. And if you do that, you'll create better work, and the world will respond.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Discovering Your Creative Voice - Bonus Video - HD
Creative Voice Resource Guide
Ikigai Template

Ratings and Reviews


Excellent. Would recommend this to every creative soul. Inspiring . Thank you very much Chris for this course.

Brenda Pollock Smith

Chris is an evangelist for all creatives. He facilitates expanding our creativity in very simple, practical ways. Really good stuff! Thank you Creative Live for offering this kind of soul food content.

François Morisset

Wow...we need more of Chris Orwig..His wisdom in life mix with photography is extraordinary! What a great gift I got from creativelive..that gift is Chris Orwig. thank you soo much

Student Work