"I Am Not Creative" Is Bullsh!t! 4 Steps to Reconnect With Your Creativity
This week someone took the opportunity to tell me that I am not creative.
I'm pretty sure I would've preferred that they called me stupid. I certainly would have preferred they called fat or ugly. And I know without a doubt that I would have preferred they called me bitchy. But not creative!?!! That's dangerous.
It's dangerous because 50% of people are uncomfortable calling themselves creative. As a society we have a tremendous amount shame, insecurity and fear around the concept of creativity. Yet creativity is the very quality that we require to solve the greatest problems facing our species and is essential for our survival on this Earth.
The truth is that every human on this planet is a born creative. We are put on this Earth to make - this is our divine ability. Maybe you create in your garden; or your business; or you make art; or you build furniture = all creating. Or... maybe you're like I was a few years ago. You're not creating at all and you're struggling to find your sense of purpose.
Fortunately for me, I spent two years on my own creative therapy - dealing with the creative scars of my past that built the dark narratives that so many of us carry around regarding our own creativity. I even wrote a talk about it:
The thing is, although I couldn't always say it out loud, I am a creative person. And so are you. If you don't believe me, maybe it's time you take a creative journey of your own. Here are the steps I took on my own journey back to creativity.
Natalie's 4 Steps for Reconnecting With Your Creativity:
1. Ask Yourself: What Did I Do When I Was A Kid? (and if you can't remember, ask your mom)
How did you spend your time as a child? Did you play school? Build structures? Draw? I "played pretend" which included going DEEP in my imagination (so deep that I would subconsciously flap my hands). Are you the kid who constantly reorganized their bedroom? Did you make comic books? Build machinery? LEGOmaniac?
There are tremendous clues in exploring how you spent your time when you were free - unencumbered by the creative scars that we pick up along the way as we move through life. Go explore those clues and see what's there so that you can connect that play to your current life.
2. Check Your Posse (Because Your Posse Determines Your Velocity)
Who you spend your time with has a tremendous effect on how you view yourself. The people in your posse either lift you up and encourage your creativity or, they don't. If you're looking to live a more creative life, it's time to take a look at who you spend your time with and ask whether they're enhancing your creativity or whether they're encouraging fear and doubt.
What I've learned in the past two years of creating for other people is that trust is a prerequisite to creativity. You can't create your best work if you're worried about what someone is going to say when you're done, so edit your posse and surround yourself with honest, supportive people. (Both honest and supportive are key: "Honest but unsupportive" won't work and neither will "dishonest but supportive.")
3. Go Make Some Bad Art
This is the most important step. Go make something. Anything. Cook an elaborate dinner. Draw. Paint. Get an adult colouring book. Whatever!! And remember, you don't have to show anyone what you make so just play and be as free as you can! I have a 3 foot paper mache fish hiding in my office from my journey. It's not going to win any awards but it represents such an important journey for me so I keep it. Proudly.
Can't decide what to make? Hop on Pinterest and Youtube where you'll find millions of hours of tutorials to get you inspired and off to the races making whatever your heart desires!
4. Keep Making Until You Find What Sets You On Fire
Once you start making stuff, don't stop! For me, the path looked like this: exotic cooking > home renovations > writing > drawing > writing > paper mache > colouring > drawing > writing > writing > writing.... I did one of these activities much better than all of the rest. I happen to enjoy that activity much more than the rest so I kept writing. And I keep working at it because I love improving it. I love doing it. I dream of doing more of it. When you find that thing, that's your thing.
These steps are not a weekend solution. They're a long-game. I've been working at this since 2015 and I still work on it every day. When it comes to creativity, the journey is the best part. So go out there and start making stuff. Encourage other people to make stuff too. And the next time you want to tell someone that they're not creative, check yourself and find a more supportive way to get your point across or they may just edit you out of their posse.