A few years ago I would not have said I was creatively fulfilled. I was more dried up raisin than lush juicy grape, to use the first metaphor that popped into my head. And it wasn’t just that I wasn’t painting; I think one of the greatest myths about creativity is that it’s only applicable to the arts.

To me creativity is simply an approach, or a way of being. It’s everywhere, in every nook and cranny of your life, if you look.

It might indeed manifest as an interest in art or writing, or any of the other ‘usual’ areas you might think of, and it might just as easily come out in the way you put a meal or an outfit together, your personal way of finding solutions to problems, or your unique approach to doing your taxes while wearing a crown and playing motivating music.

When I was being a dried up raisin, it didn’t feel good. I might not at the time have identified it as a lack of creative muscle flexing, but that was a huge part of it. We are all creative by nature, and if we’re not allowing that part of ourselves to be expressed, in whatever way, well, we do become a bit shrivelled.

Now I can absolutely say that I live a creatively fulfilled life. Many of the things I do are art related, and just as many are perhaps less obvious manifestations of my creativity, like the solution I found for all the socks I kept finding on the floor around my bed. {A basket I had been using for something else that is perfectly shaped to slide neatly underneath – not rocket science but still the result of creative thinking}.

Creative thinking and creative action are two of the most deeply pleasurable and satisfying things a human can do. Even if you don’t make art or play an instrument or any of the ‘obvious’ things, you can live a creatively fulfilled life just by choosing to see the world in a more ‘what if’ kind of way. It really does come down to choice.

I could bang on about this all day but that’s not as interesting as hearing from some of my creatively fulfilled friends, who as you will see live all sorts of different lifestyles. For some, creativity is an obvious part of their work, for others, it’s something that’s more subtle but no less important or powerful. I particularly love the diversity of responses to the original question, which just prove that creativity is both universal and deeply individual.

This post is about what creative fulfilment looks like in our ordinary day to day lives. I hope it gives you some ideas and brings you some encouragement, and perhaps even affirms that you’re already creative in more ways than you realised.

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“I am most fulfilled when I am creating in several different areas: writing something, working on a painting, creating anew some part of my life and business. And when that creativity is serving others at some level. When these areas come together, the result is a magical synchronicity and I am filled with joy and gratitude at being able to live this creative life.”

Malini Parker, maliniparker.com

 

“For years, I operated under the misconception that being an artist {or anything, really} was an all or nothing prospect.  Being an artist meant that I should spend hours each day at my craft…or so I thought.  When my children were born, I quietly tucked away my art-self {I didn’t have hours to work} and was content in that choice.

But as they got a little older and our rhythms changed, I realized I was running on empty and needed to refuel.  I’m not sure how I made the shift from hours to minutes, but somehow I opened to that possibility.  I opened to the possibility that five minutes of creating is still five minutes of creating.  And if I work five minutes here and five minutes there…and maybe I get lucky and work thirty minutes later…well, it starts to build.  Those pockets of time add up.  Those pockets of time build work and fill spirit.  

Being an artist {or anything, really} isn’t all or nothing, it isn’t black or white, it isn’t life with rules laid out plainly.  We make things up as we go along.  Five minutes, thirty minutes, one hour or ten.  What matters is that we make…something.”

Michelle GD, michellegd.com

 

AarathiSelvan

“Every day we are given a choice of whether to live from our authenticity or auto-pilot. My automatic reaction to waking up in the morning before I am ready to wake up (thanks to a naughty little one and a half year old who wakes me) is dismay and desire to sleep some more, but I choose everyday to adjust this lens with which I begin my day, and with that I gently set an intention to live more open heartedly.

Living an authentic life that is creatively fulfilling calls for doing the work I love no matter how hard it feels like momentarily. In flowing with what the day brings for me I allow spontaneity and intuition to guide me and as a result I end the day with lucid awareness that what I do brings me alive, makes me smile, feel good about what I put out in the world.

Aarathi Selvan, pauseforperspective.com

 

“For me, living a creatively fulfilled life means listening to my inner callings, no matter how crazy or unrealistic they seem. In the past, I let my self-doubt take the reigns or told myself I wasn’t “ready.”. Instead of immediately writing ideas off, I now assume there’s a good reason I’m having this particular idea at this particular time, get curious and ask ‘How could I make this happen?‘”

Hannah Braime, becomingwhoyouare.net

 

“When I’m in a state of being creatively fulfilled, I find that I’m able to actually give from that overflow that we hear others talk about. So at those times, I’m not doing things from a place of feeling/being exhausted & drained… but from a place of feeling alive & vibrant. This doesn’t just serve my clients, though that’s important… it’s also incredibly beneficial to my family. I am able to be more fully present with/for them, and more truly my best self. Everyone wins!”

Angel Sullivan, angelsullivan.com

 

“Being creatively filled feels like being carried in a flowing stream rather than pushing myself towards something. It renews rather than exhausts, and results from consistent daily actions on valued activities.”

Susan Bloch, susanbloch.com

 

 

“I call it being on a creative path. For me it’s not about talent or making a ​job, it’s a decision. To be in the creative flow requires staying on that path, no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT!!!

When I wasn’t “answering the call” I put everyone else’s needs before mine, I read about creativity all the time instead of living it, I felt inadequate, and “not an artist”. Now that I am very focused on MY path as a contemplative photographer I don’t really care about if I am an artist or not any more? It’s a way of life. As a woman I have always prioritised financial independence.

A day job can give you the freedom to develop your own creative work . It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I work part-time now and the funny thing is I never really find pleasure in shopping or big nights out, ​production replaces consumption…..”

Catherine Drea, foxglovelane.com

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When I’m feeling creatively fulfilled, it’s like there are all sorts of little sparks and reactions going on inside me – in an excited way, not a scary way – and somehow that makes the world, and other people, even more interesting to me. I guess it’s a sort of sense of possibility and wonder, a feeling that there’s so much more to explore, both inside me and out there. Which is a lovely feeling to have!

But if I’ve been neglecting my creative side, then everything can feel a bit grey and flat for a while, a bit like ‘what’s the point?’  And that’s when I know I need to get back to being creative. The great thing is, it doesn’t have to take that much time! I find that even a fifteen minute burst of making art (or connecting deeply with someone else’s artwork) can be enough to flip that switch and get me feeling full and excited again.”

Emma Cameron, transformyourmidlife.com & emmacameron.com

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“For me living the creative life means taking time to make things. It could be something knitted, written, or cooked. It could be anything, but making things is what creating is all about for me. It doesn’t matter if it’s my job or my hobby, but it’s something that’s always been in my life.

I don’t think living a creative life requires anything special. You don’t need to quit your day job. You don’t need to live in a city or have a big studio. If you make things and love making things, you are living a creative life.” 

Donna Druchunas, sheeptoshawl.com & storiesinstitches.net

What does a creatively fulfilled life look like for you? And if you don’t feel you’re quite ‘there’ yet, what one thing can you take from this post to try out in your own life?

PS. You can highlight any sentence in this or any of my posts to share it on Twitter or Facebook. Technology never ceases to amaze me!

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