Everything I've learned about being creative {so far}

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes I find it very difficult not to get a bit soap boxy about this subject. {You may have noticed. ;)}

Sometimes a genuine desire to support and encourage anyone wanting to bring more creativity {back} into their lives can tip over the edge into frustration.

I have to remind myself that just because something comes easily or is obvious to me, doesn’t mean it does or is for everyone.

In fact, I only have to consider how doing my monthly spreadsheet nearly kills me every time, while there are people out there making a living from doing maths, to remember that we all have different strengths and ‘easy areas’. 😉

There are some fundamentals to living creatively that, as I’ve observed over and over, are true for everyone, not just a chosen few who have a ‘gift’.

I wish there was some way to infuse this into each person, although I guess it’s part of each individual’s life journey to discover it for themselves {or not}.

Perhaps this is just the nature of feeling passionate about something; you see where people are holding themselves back and that they don’t have to and you just want to DO something about it.

So today I’m both giving myself an opportunity to let it all out {and see what I actually have learned}, while simultaneously offering something that might be of encouragement/a timely reminder to anyone who happens across it.

Everyone wins! 😉

Considering yourself ‘not creative’ doesn’t mean you aren’t

The older I get and the more I cultivate and navigate this creative life, the more I see how misguided it is to think some humans are creative and others aren’t.

I’m not particularly dogmatic usually, {Piscean!}, but on this point I find myself certain because I see it.

Creativity is like a muscle {and we all have those}. The only reason some people are actively creative in their lives and some are not, is because some are flexing that muscle, and some are not {and often don’t know that they have it, so dispute its existence}.

Creativity DOES take courage

Matisse was not wrong.

It’s risky, expressing yourself. It feels vulnerable, and is sometimes very difficult.

But look at what else in life takes courage, that we do with a lot less protesting, or actively prioritise; relationships, asking for a raise, going for an interview, getting married, having children, travelling, crossing the road!

Perhaps it’s because these are somehow more mainstream, more commonly seen and accepted, and carry less myth around who is qualified to do them.

Creativity happens in cycles

Like with anything in life, there are times of abundance and times of wandering in the desert with tumbleweeds drifting by, times of effortless flow, and times of deep struggle.

And, more importantly, one is not ‘better’ than the other; it just feels that way. Both are essential, and actually feed each other. {And no, I’m not always happy about this!}

People blossom – gain skills, enthusiasm and confidence – by sharing and receiving encouragement and feedback

Sounds obvious but many feel anxious and vulnerable about this, especially if it’s a new area and they fear they don’t have the ‘gifts’ or ‘skills’. Memories of critical parents and teachers often loom large.

Something I have heard repeatedly since I started teaching courses is, “this group is so supportive and encouraging, it makes it easier to feel brave about sharing”.

Sharing helps us keep going, and can lead to opportunities we never imagined.

Clinging to old stories is ‘safe’ but prevents the full experience of being creative

‘Yes but’, ‘I’m the kind of person who…..’, ‘I’m not brave enough to….’

A lot of our stories rely on us clinging to an identity that is at best limiting and at worst can make us ill. {I’ve been there myself.}

I don’t call myself an artist to myself {only to clarify for others in certain situations}, and then it no longer matters whether I’m doing what artists do. I make art. That doesn’t mean I have to create a box called artist and live in it.

The word is so laden with exclusivity and ‘specialness’ that even if it feels liberating at first, it can still become limiting later on when we bump up against all the hidden meanings we’re carrying about it that we didn’t look at.

For example, if we don’t sell any/much of our work, we can run into doubt that we are an artist after all, and that can lead to loss of confidence, and even giving up.

Creativity is essential to being a whole person

I can’t stress this enough! {Dramatic wringing of hands.}

It’s not an optional extra, or something only for certain people; it’s part of being a holistically ‘complete’ human being.

It doesn’t matter in the slightest how it is expressed, it matters that it’s given time and attention as part of a life.

Although it can be a hobby, it’s not something we can take or leave without consequences.

We need to eat to stay alive, we need to move to stay healthy, and we need to be creative to feel whole.

Something is missing when we are not honouring our innate creativity, whether we recognise it or not. There’s a reason people say ‘art heals’ and that art is a type of therapy.

I’ve seen art give confidence, empowerment, connection, surprise, pleasure, satisfaction, joy, income. I’ve seen it as a way to give, a way to receive, a way to express what words can’t reach, a way to discover, a way to learn about the self, a means of self love and self care, a way to meditate, a way to play, a way to triumph over challenge, a way to show love.

Of course all of these can be found in ways that don’t involve making art per se, but most of them involve some kind of creativity, and creativity is an excellent way to find them.

Creativity is WHO WE ARE.

If you’re spiritually inclined,  you likely view creativity as the part of you that is the Creator itself, expressing through you.

And if you’re not, it still gives you all of the above and may well open you up to this possibility anyway.

This probably isn’t everything I know about being creative. But it’s the parts that feel most essential to force encourage people to really absorb. 😉

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already with me on some if not all of it. Awesome. Maybe you know someone who would benefit from seeing it too, in which case please feel free to share it far and wide!

I’m not typically a very opinionated person, but when it comes to the innate creativity of humans, well, yeah.

I truly believe that if all humans embraced this truth about ourselves, the world would be a very different – and much more harmonious – place.

End of soap boxery. 🙂