4 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Believed I Wasn't Creative
I grew up believing I wasn’t creative.
I’d always associated “creativity” with “visual art”, and from a young age, I was told I had no aptitude for drawing, painting, or mark-making of any kind. And I (like so many children my age) believed the adults who were adamant that I shouldn’t waste my time on something for which I clearly had no inherent talent.
Fast forward twenty years, and you can find me ensconced in my art studio on a daily basis. I have a particular fondness for mixed media art, but I’ve also been known to create charcoal sketches, play with encaustic medium, and work exclusively in oils.
While I’m not a full-time artist, I am an artist. It took me a long time to get to the point where I could describe myself using that term, but here I am, proudly announcing it to anyone who’ll listen.
If you struggle with labeling yourself “creative” (and the idea of introducing yourself as an “artist” leaves you breaking out in a cold sweat), here are four things I wish I’d known when I believed I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. I hope they help you as I know they’d have helped me.
What Exactly is Creativity, Anyway?
Wait—before we go any further, let’s clear something up: you can be creative in myriad ways that have nothing to do with visual art. You don’t need to be a painter to be creative any more than you need to be a chef to make a sandwich.
For the purposes of this article, when I talk about creativity, I’m referring to those creative urges that make you want to explore a new hobby, interest, or pursuit. The kinds of creative nudges that have your hands itching to pick up a paintbrush, scribble a poem, or knit a shawl.
Creativity is all a matter of perspective. It’s the way you look at the world from a new angle: upside down, inside out, slightly slanted.
Being creative means doing something different. Being willing to take risks and try something new, even though your efforts are likely to fail. Pushing yourself to come up with ideas, summon inspiration, and make things.
Creativity is available to anyone who’s willing to think about a problem in a different way.
So if you’ve ever said to yourself (or others) “Oh, I’m just not creative,” I urge you to think again.
#1. Being creative isn’t just about creating
I know, I know, it sounds like an oxymoron, but stay with me here. We often assume that creativity means producing something that didn’t exist before. And that’s true, to an extent, but there’s a necessary step that must occur before we generate an outcome for that initial creative nudge.
The first step in creating anything is coming up with an idea. And an idea, in itself, can be as simple as a sensation. As fleeting as a feeling. As ephemeral as an impression.
There’s value in generating ideas, flirting with them, mulling them around in your mind, and then eventually letting them out to play. That aspect of toying with new ideas can be just as satisfying as actually getting your hands dirty to turn the initial thought into a concrete piece of art.
#2. There’s magic in concocting something from nothing
Regardless of whether you believe in the possibility of Harry Potter-esque wizardry or not, you can’t deny the inherent sorcery that exists in the process of creation. Going from nothing to an idea, and then through the process of manifesting what started out as a stray thought all the way to a finished product is a type of magic. And it deserves recognition and respect.
We do ourselves a major disservice when we determine that our creative urges don’t matter. We deny ourselves the accomplishment of sparking that magic from the tips of our fingers and weaving our life experiences, our viewpoint, and our flashes of inspiration into something that’s uniquely ours.
#3. No one else in the world can create exactly like me (or Picasso, or you)
Sure, we can all imitate Picasso. And there are forgers out there who come damn close to creating a perfect replica of a Picasso painting. But that’s not creativity. It’s paint-by-numbers.
A truly creative work, on the other hand, is like a snowflake or a fingerprint—there are no two alike. When you allow your inspiration to go wild, you’ll start combining ideas into something that’s entirely your own. Your imagination stirs and beckons, and your brain creates new combinations from various concepts.
Which brings me to the next point…
#4. My creativity is an extension of my legacy
Think of it this way: you give birth to the people you leave behind who are proof that you once existed. Similarly, you give birth to creative ideas that do the same thing.
That novel you write in 20-minute increments during your lunch hour becomes your legacy.
The song you compose with your headphones on while your husband plays video games becomes your legacy.
The scrapbook you lovingly build photo by photo becomes your legacy.
A legacy doesn’t mean you have to become famous. It simply means you leave a little piece of yourself behind. When you create, you imbue your handiwork with your soul, your passion, and your originality. And even if one other person ever sees it, it's an incredible gift to give.
Repeat after me: “I am creative."
If there’s one theme that sums up all of the above points, it’s this: we are all creative.
Creativity is one of those gifts we were all given as we made our way into this world. It’s not something reserved for the uniquely blessed among us. It is, however, something we venerate and put on a pedestal.
We look at creativity as the purview of the Lady Gagas and Motzarts of the world, but that’s just not true. I am creative. You are creative. Your child is incredibly creative.
And so’s uncle Bob, aunt Sue, your boss, your mailman, your next-door neighbor, and the lady on the street corner holding the sign that reads “I spent all my money on cardboard and a marker."
Call up crystal energy to help you on your journey
Crystals are incredible energetic conduits. They harness the energy of the elements, and they help us channel our intentions into manifesting the outcomes we desire.
If you’re actively working on embracing your own creative identity, I’ve created a printable PDF with a list and in-depth description of the types of crystals you could work with on your journey.
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