Discover Your Creative Archetype
I know I'm not the only tired one. I know I'm not the only one who has stared down the barrel of burnout, afraid to stop producing because of the money. I know I'm not the only one who has struggled to tap into my creative genius and actually create something I love.
In an effort to better understand my creative process and find a way to refresh and replenish my creative well I knew I needed a starting point, to identify where on the map I was in order to plan my course.
I made these Archetypes and the accompanying quiz to help you pinpoint where you are and to draw attention to the deficiencies you may be experiencing. This quiz is your starting point.
Know that we are never just one thing. We contain multitudes. We are nuanced beings with multifaceted genius. These archetypes aren’t a box you need to squeeze yourself into but an opportunity to acknowledge the creative space you are currently holding. They are designed to help you better understand your creative process and how you may find creative rest. Through out your life and your creative evolution, you may experience different archetypes to varying degrees.
This is about the permission to meet yourself where you are at creatively.
This is about honing your creative process.
This is about finding creative rest.
Below, each Archetype will highlight some things to watch out for - shadow aspects, if you will - along with tips for finding creative rest.
What is rest if not returning to oneself and finding home there?
To me, creative rest is replenishing my joy and energy by intentionally connecting (or rather reconnecting) with the things, people (and creatures), and places that inspire me. My muses.
When we experience blocks or burnout I believe that it is important to return to our muses, to the wonderful things in this life that inspire our craft. My hope is that these Archetypes will help you to return to those muses and find rest and home and passion.
Knowledge is your power and your love language. You can learn from anything (and anyone) and have probably invested a lot of time, energy, and even money into that pursuit.
Fascinated by history, you gobble up all of the documentaries you can get your eyes on. You spent much of your life with a book in one hand, taking in all the knowledge you can. Or, maybe science is your jam, and you use your extraordinary brain to decipher all the experiences and experiments this life has to teach you. Regardless of the subject matter, you have some serious areas of expertise and mastery.
The quiet of the library is the perfect ambiance to get your creative work done. You care deeply about proper citation in your research projects.
There is only so much research you can do; don’t get too caught up in that stage of the creative process. Yes, research is so very valuable, but if it is not being interpreted and repurposed are you really getting that value?
Remember to take time to digest the knowledge you are consuming. Try journaling it out or talking through your thoughts with a close friend or colleague. Stuffing yourself full of knowledge that isn’t being processed will leave your soul bloated, and no one likes that feeling. It’s important to give attention and time to enjoy things for the sake of enjoyment. You have many interests and many of those interests have a purpose in your work, career, or business. What is something that you can enjoy just for the sake of enjoyment?
You got into creating to connect and help people.
You love the city and all of the people-watching that can be had within it. Your not-so-guilty pleasure is watching reality tv. There is so much to learn about human behavior! When you need to write or do some creative work, you have the urge to go to your favorite local coffee shop for some ambient noise.
Your wisdom and insight into human behavior have brought you success in sales and marketing.
You’re incredibly empathetic, but untrained empathy is a double-edged sword; people-pleasing has become a struggle for you. There needs to be a balance between caring for others and caring for yourself. What do you want? What can you learn about your own behavior? It’s time for some much-needed introspection! Creating from a place of trying to make everyone else happy is exhausting and doesn’t ever really get the results you want. Instead, tackle your next project with the goal of making your inner child giddy
Every once in a while try to unplug. Leaving the overstimulating bustle of the city for a day can be really refreshing. Start taking note of how your body is reacting to all of the stimulation and listen to it when it tells you it needs a break. Before you lean into the causes that drive you, that ignites your passion, take some time to reflect on your values and focus your attention on causes that align with those values. This will help temper that overwhelm you tend to feel.
Your connection to nature is a true gift.
Happiest in the garden or in the wild, foraging, you know all things plants, a literal witch at growing green things. I am mesmerized by your ability to bring plants I’ve killed back to life. Your vegetable, herb, and flower gardens are lush and full and I can’t wait to enjoy the harvest!
Or maybe you find the art of caring for creatures great and small a true joy and the world needs humans like you. You seem to know how to communicate with animals, your connection with them so strong they naturally respond to you. You may love the beach, and the feel of sand on your toes while listening to the waves.
Green things aren’t the only living things that are worthy of your attention. Leave the forest/garden every once in and while to connect with other humans. They’re not so different from plants; they also need sun and water and nourishment to grow and bloom. Take the knowledge you have about growing plants and translate it into growing relationships, even if just a handful.
You find deep embodiment when you connect with the earth, with the grass in your hands, with the sand in between your toes. Lean into that embodiment but I challenge you to take someone else along to experience that too. You and your garden and your wild connections have so much to offer the people in your life.
Your love for yourself has been hard-won.
You’ve battled insecurities and, at times, self-loathing. Fitting in has never really been an option for you because you're just a bit too unique to squeeze into premade molds. This makes the art you produce that much more rare and beautiful because it truly is one of a kind.
Your art has given you an opportunity to share your unique perspective and your magical inner world. You are your own hype person. Lizzo is a great example of this.
Give people a chance. You may have been disappointed by others in the past but there is so much to learn from other humans. You also have so very much to offer and your unique magic can really enrich the world around you. This requires vulnerability and risk, but remind yourself that this risk is worth it. You thrive working independently but you’re probably feeling some loneliness and disconnect - ask for help when you need it. Collaborate with like-minded humans. Stop canceling all your plans and take a leap - you may find a social net already there waiting to catch you. Besides, you always land on your feet.
Remember that your body needs to release the anxious energy that gets built up. Go for a walk or run and get your heart pumping. This will help get you out of your own head. Also, try talking through your thoughts with someone you trust. You’ve made so much progress recently and verbalizing that journey can really make it real for you. You deserve your hard work to become more tangible.
You care about functionality. You are practical. You find beauty in the things that are working well and serving a clear purpose.
You love taking things apart and putting them back together because you learn so much about how things work through the process. When you see a clock you see the gears working together to give you the time. Creating a mechanism that works well and efficiently is always a priority.
Think of Leonardo Da Vinci who created some of the world's most treasured paintings but also had a mind to invent and experiment because the functionality is beautiful too.
Not everything will work like it is “supposed to” and it’s also not possible to understand how everything in this expansive universe works. That doesn’t mean those things aren’t worthwhile or beautiful. Learning to be spontaneous and embrace a little bit of chaos will do wonders for your creative process.
Lean into the embodiment you experience when you work with your hands. Find a craft, an art form that allows you to work with your hands without activating your drive to problem solve. Something like knitting (without a focus on following an elaborate pattern) or even painting. Let your body decide where to take the project and not your mind. You can do it! I believe in you!
Meditation is your first language and your journals are full of your wonderful ponderings.
There has to be something greater than the physical world around you, a force connecting us all. Whether it is your belief in the cosmos or a higher power, you are attuned to the spiritual and it impacts the way you create.
Not everyone will be able to see the world through your eyes, and while grappling with the intangible, metaphysical realm can be rewarding, don’t disengage from the tangible, physical world. The intangible should never ask us to sacrifice the tangible. The future does not ask us to sacrifice the present. It’s easy for your head to get stuck in the clouds and this could cause your art to become out of touch and lack depth and dimension.
You probably feel like you have rest down; you’re a professional meditator after all! But rest can also be found in grounding down into your present moment. Not everything is that deep. Have you let yourself be stupid lately? Laughed yourself silly? Be dumb (and safe) with your friends and let your inner child run the show for a few hours. You can ponder more serious matters tomorrow.
Inspiration can come from literally anywhere.
You’re on your way to work and something on talk radio piques your interest and sparks your next great idea.
You are a die-hard fan of (insert your current or long-time hyper fixation) and you will fight to the death if someone bashes your favorite, loveable yet misguided character that you may or may not relate too much to.
The perfect playlist helps you get to work and while you dance it out in between tasks and sing along, you are getting shit done.
Imitation might at times be flattering, but remember to give credit where it is due. Make sure that you are adding your unique voice to the harmonious beauty of the things you love. You have a lot to offer and even though your inspiration comes from what others have made, you shouldn’t be copying and pasting. Add your own spin, reinterpret, and reflect on what your interests have to teach you about yourself.
A blank canvas may scare you with all of its potential and possibilities just waiting for you. You don’t want to make the wrong move but let me tell you a secret - there is no wrong first move. There are happy accidents. There are shitty first drafts. I challenge you to lay it out there without a filter. Write as the words come to you without comparing them to some other great story teller you never dream of living up to. Write, paint, draw, START; and don’t hold yourself back. Practice this a little each day.