This month’s gem from “52 Ways To Nurture Your Creativity” can be applied to any setting. When I worked in the financial industry I kept a file folder labeled ‘Good Job Stuff’ and encouraged staff members to do the same. In that folder I kept notes and emails containing compliments on a skill, projects, ideas, or on being a competent leader. In corporate America, you may be told annually that you’re doing a good job when it comes time for performance reviews. But we all need more than one time a year to be encouraged about our capabilities and talents. My folder was what I called my personal ‘pat on the back’. Whenever I felt I was spinning my wheels and not making a difference in the world I’d pull out that folder and read. It might be a note from a former employee that had gone back to school to earn her degree and told me she would never have believed herself capable of that had I not believed in her at work.
For those of us that do solitary work, as artists, writers, and other creative types, we have to offer our own encouragement most of the time. I am lucky in that I am married to an encourager, Jim Booth, who helps me find my way when I lose faith in my purpose as an artist and who also keeps me grounded. It’s exciting to have work accepted in a show or a publication but those communications don’t happen every day. So you may want to consider having a fan club.
Lynn Gordon’s advice is to do just that. “Start your own virtual fan club by assembling photographs or letters from people who believe in you and your abilities. Keep their tokens of support in a box, on a bulletin board, or in a hanging folder. Next time you question your creative abilities or even your sanity, refer back to this fan club. Depending on your enjoyment of exhibitionism you might even assemble a more active fan club. Maintain a mailing list of individuals to whom you can send doodles, sample chapters, and invitations to your gallery openings.”
I would add that if you are a visual person you might want to go the bulletin board route. Add a little border to each note or complimentary email in your own style and favorite colors. If you are more verbal consider keeping them in a notebook to flip through and read periodically. Whatever your favorite way to remember impacts you’ve made and focus on encouragers in your life get started today. You deserve a pat on the back even if you have to give it to yourself via your virtual fan club.