How Type-A Artists Survive

I was teaching at a documentary film school over the summer and someone said to me "how does it feel to be a 'type-A artist?"

I started thinking about my life and how much I've struggled as a creative person because of the ocean of ideas that I have in my mind, my perfectionistic standards and the constant struggle I have to work with other people.  

Here are 5 strategies that I've came up with to help me on my journey as a "type-A artist":

1. LET GO OF 'PERFECT'

It's so hard to do this!  I want my art and creative endeavors to end up the best they can be. Every time.  The problem is with what "the best they can be" is.  The idea that something can always be "better" is a problem in our society.  Understandably.  We're bombarded with "push-ads" that cram what "perfect" is down our throats on the daily.   When I started as a photographer years ago I was so worried that I wasn't as good as other photographers.  I was right.  It turns out that that was ok.  I ended up doing a 100-day self-portrait project where I posted one photo per day for 100 days.  I started off shooting with my iPhone and then naturally desiring "better photos", I learned how to use a DSLR.  I ended up being a "photographer" to all of my followers by the end of the project.  That only happened because I let go of "perfect" and embraced "process".

2. MEDITATE. EVERYDAY

I have a disorder know as "borderline personality disorder".  For as far back as I can remember I have been a perfectionist, driven, passionate.  Also unproductive.

Meditation has revolutionized my creative life by allowing me to focus or "re-focus" on what's really important in my life and complete the tasks that I value.  Meditation looks very different for a lot of people.  I actually have a lambskin rug in my work space that I lay down on everyday for at least 10 minutes while listening to some guided meditation or calm music.  If you've never done "guided meditation" then I highly recommend that you go to YouTube and search for it.  Or just click here.  You'll feel kooky in the beginning but over time you'll start to notice the life changing benefits in your creative life, personal life and with your family.

3. STOP MAKING STUFF

I got this intuitive (and almost scary effective) tip from the relationship guru, Jordan Gray.  He basically says that if you're an "ultra productive" person then you should practice being intentionally "unproductive".  This seems too simply I know.  I challenge you to "not work" on purpose the next time that you are in the middle of an intense creative project where you feel stuck.  

4. EXERCISE. DAILY

I know here we go.  The old "exercise daily" thing.  If you can get up 30 minutes earlier everyday and do a light (I said light) run and/or yoga-ish stretching then I promise you that you'll see an increase in quality of your day to day creativity, relationship and overall life. 

Go ahead and grab your phone and change your alarm.  You can do it!

5. GET AN EXPENSIVE JOURNAL

I've recently started adding value to this so much that I went out and bought a $13 journal. I use this everyday to write, sketch or doodle out my thoughts, ideas or creative projects.  Before I bought this journal I had a really low quality (picture grade school) notebook.  Since it was cheap I treated cheap.  It had no value because I literally picked it up out of a box that someone was going to recycle. 

The point is you want to prepare yourself to be successful by having something that you value with you so you'll want to use it.  It's that simple. 

You might take these strategies and say "not fore me" or you might try to change them to fit your style or even maybe even ask another "type-A “creative person around you how they survive.  

Whatever you do.  Do something that works for you. Or nothing right! (Strategy #3)

Creatively,

Mark

P.S. Want to talk about this more? Drop me a line. I love helping creative people!

 

 

Mark Maya - Photographer - Educator

Mark Maya Photography, 217 North Briggs Avenue, Durham, NC, 27703

Did you know 10 years ago when I decided to become an educator I was really scared?  I didn't feel like I had the confidence, social skills or basic knowledge to teach. Honestly, some days I still don't. 

I've learned more than I ever thought possible through teaching photography to teenagers with severe disabilities, middle and high schoolers, university students and countless individual photographers. 

I'm someone who believes in being prepared. Being prepared for teaching others is a task that only time can prepare you for. Time spent struggling through something with others. Solving problems and figuring stuff out together. Learning from each other and our mistakes.

I'm excited that we get to learn together and I promise to always be prepared and spend time on my craft while being honest and organic. 

Mark Maya is a wedding photographer and educator from Durham, NC.