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10 Questions to Take You to the Heart of Your Art

Thanksgiving is coming this week and so I was going to write to you about gratitude and the power of appreciating those people in your life . . . and blah blah blah stuff you're probably hearing from everyone else . . . but what I realized as my inner grumpalump started speaking up about that is this: Appreciation has to start right here. With you. You can't love up others around you (your family in particular) if you aren't first feeling the love for yourself. It's sort of a cup doesn't overfloweth situation. When things get hard, knowing who you are and why you got that way gives you compassion for yourself. It makes it easy to appreciate yourself and go easy on yourself. . . and thus you go a little easier on everyone else.

And so I'm sharing with you ten questions you can ponder over this holiday that will allow you to deeply appreciate all that you are as an artist and your unique gifts you bring to the world.

These are magical questions that I use to deeply understand all of my clients and they always tell me that they get a ton out of the exercise of writing the answers to these questions. So, curl up with pen and paper, or better yet a couple of friends to nosh on the juiciness that is your story - and ask yourself these questions below. I'll bet your story is rich and full of all kinds of unwrapped gifts! Inspiration begins on the other side of this screen.

10 Questions to Take You to the Heart of Your Art

I've developed this set of questions from working with artists that I coach because I find a lot of gold in the answers.

The first five ask you about your early childhood memories because we really do know who we are at a very young age before it gets conditioned out of us. I also find that these early experiences play a huge role in shaping some of our artistic preferences and, unfortunately, hang ups.

You as a Kid:

1. What were some of your first creative experiences as a child? What did you do? How was it received by others? If you are a performer what were your first experiences of being "seen" by others?

2. What did you play? Were you a kid who made up imaginative narratives while you rode your bike? pretended to cook? Did you roller skate around the garage and make up routines?

3. Who were some of the artists that you loved when you were a kid? What about music? Who were the first artists you remember appreciating? Why?

4. Who did you create or perform for when you were 5? 10? 16? Who did you imagine seeing you perform? Or witnessing your work with appreciation?

5. What were some of your daydreams as a kid? Was there a common narrative? What story did you tell?

You as a Big Kid Now:

6. What questions do you ask over and over again? I'm talking about the sort that are unanswerable. Philosophical questions. But if you are asking "where are my keys?" every day, then hey, that could be revealing too, lol!

7. What artists do you love now? Why? What do you have in common with them?

8. Who do you perform or create for now? Who do you imagine seeing and witnessing you in your creative life?

9. Your likes, preferences and secret desires. This is a two part question:

a. What do you openly appreciate?

b.What do you like, but are too afraid to admit it?

10. What bothers you? What drives you nuts? In the art that you see or otherwise. Why?

BONUS QUESTION: If you could take a broad view of all of your work up to this point, what story do you keep telling again and again? (Even if your art isn't considered "narrative" try to come up with an answer to this one anyway - what are your repeating themes?)

Learn anything interesting? Share your gems in the comments below or better yet, in the closed Performers and Creators Lab Community Group on Facebook.

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