Creativity


Ahhhhhh, creativity. I am sure that you recognize the term. There are other terms that are often associated with the word like “artist”, “artisan”, “creator”, “creative mind”, “talent”, “gifted”, etc. Some people are more comfortable with calling themselves those terms, but at our core, we are all creatives. We are all artists. Maybe that makes you feel uncomfortable? But it is still true.


Elizabeth Gilbert wrote this beautiful book called “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear”, and it really just changed my whole perspective on what creativity means and how to harness it. For me, I never wanted to claim that I was an artist because I was (I hate to say this but I will) embarrassed by some of the things I have made, never thinking I was "enough" or "good enough". But I can't remember a time where I wasn't creative. I don’t do it for any other reason but that I really enjoy it. It lights me up. It also helped that I came from two parents who were extremely creative, my mama is a badass crafter/designer/seamstress/DIY gal, and my father loved to build things/paint/problem solve/invent/storyteller/use his hands.


The term creativity is defined as “a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition, or a joke) or a physical object (such as an invention, a printed literary work, or a painting)". You can be creative in so many different ways. I think most of us, me speaking from experience, just think of creatives or “artists” as people who create art, like painters, sculptors, photographers, dancers, musicians, videographers, etc. But really, anything can be considered art. ANYTHING.


One of the reasons I wanted to write about this was because I realized I have been struggling recently with being creative. I have a lot of hobbies (cooking, baking, photography, linocut, collaging, painting, drawing, guitar, singing, keyboard, plants, decorating, etc), and COVID 19 has given me a lot of time to do what I want, but I have been feeling a lot of resistance in the creative area (or what I thought was my creative area). I have a feeling it has something to do with the judgment I have of what I make: it's not good enough (for who?), it’s not original enough (who cares?), I don’t have anything to say that is important, etc. So I just haven’t been giving that area of my life the attention I believe it deserves.


I often think that the older we get, the harder it is to be creative. Maybe in our minds we are, but we don’t know how to express it, if you know what I mean. I, sadly, believe that the school system is one of the reasons this occurs. We are taught certain ways to do things, and realize that the value of being creative isn’t as high as the value of being book smart. The older we get, the more and more it seems to disappear. But, my question is, what happens if we ignore this innate trait we have for too long? Does it show up in our lives as symptoms?


That is the second reason I wanted to write about this. I realized that the times in my life where I feel stuck/isolated/confused/lost/like I am going to burst, are the times where I was ignoring my creative side. Maybe you have felt similarly.


Maybe you are already creative! LOVE IT. I am so glad that you have committed to that side of yourself, that making whatever you make probably feels really good/satisfying, and maybe you can or have gotten others involved in your creative endeavors. KEEP IT UP!


Or, maybe you don’t see the value in being creative. Or maybe you have, like me, been feeling stuck, and aren’t quite sure how to get back into the groove, whatever that looks like for you.


I thought it might be nice to go over the benefits of being creative, as a way of, well, explaining the benefits, but also maybe to spark that creative fire in you again, if you need it! I also thought I would go over some tips that have personally helped me to reignite that creative fire.


Benefits of being creative:

  • Allows you to express yourself (which is super important)

  • Helps relieve stress levels + anxiety

  • Allows you to take your mind off of other things

  • Promotes problem solving and honing those skills (this can benefit you in so many situations!)

  • Helps lift your spirit/motivate you!

  • Gets your mind moving which can lead to more productivity

  • Boosts your confidence

  • Keeping your brain moving leads to a longer life

  • Being creative in one area can often lead to being more creative in other areas! HOORAY!

  • Allows you to explore your feelings and thoughts more

  • Allows you to ignore logic/reality for a moment (like when you were a kid!)

  • Makes you happier! (release of dopamine in your brain)

  • Reduces the chances of getting dementia because you are using your brain!

  • Similarly to meditation, it improves mental health

  • When the two hemispheres of your brain communicate with each other, your cognitive function improves!

  • Feeling of purpose

  • Connecting with your community/others


So many benefits! Remember, we all have this creative side to us, and when we finally start acknowledging it, then we can reap all the benefits from it! Trust me: it feels amazing.


“Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, shame. We are creative beings. We are by nature creative.”- Brene Brown

Now, lets go over some tips on how to be more creative in our lives, including some of Elizabeth Gilbert's’ advice:

  • “Let go of your fantasy of perfection.”(Elizabeth Gilbert). Perfection doesn’t exist. Plus, this isn’t about perfection anyway. This is about expressing something, or inventing an idea. Do your best, that is what matters the most.

  • Carve out time during your week to be creative. Listen to what your heart wants to do, and DO THAT. Even if it sounds silly.

  • To use a Julia Cameron tip (The Artist's Way), take yourself on an artist date, like a dollar store, an art store, a craft store, etc. Go anywhere that might spark inspiration

  • Let go of self criticism/judgement. That will just get in your way

  • If you are creating, you are creative. If you are making art, you are an artist, etc. It is ok to claim that title, because it is rightfully yours, even if you're not “profiting” from it, or “famous”.

  • Always been interested in trying something, but never have because of the “unknown”? GIVE IT A SHOT. Too expensive? Find someone/some place that teaches or already does the skill you want to learn, and ask if they would teach you. Also, libraries will often have tons of books on different skills, and sometimes even have tools you can borrow for free/low cost. When I was learning the dark room and linocut, I had two people take me under their wings to teach me how to do it because they already had all the tools/equipment, which allowed me to try it out before investing in it.

  • To use another Julia Cameron tip (The Artist’s Way), start doing daily pages(3), stream of consciousness, what I like to call “thought vomit”. Take a blank journal, and every morning, set aside some time to sit down and write 3 WHOLE pages with whatever comes to mind (it doesn’t need to make sense). This will get your mind going, document your thoughts, and help to create a creative habit. Also, added bonus: it helps your mental health too!

  • Practice makes progress, meaning if you practice you will get better. We aren’t aiming for perfection here, we just want to get better at this skill we are trying to learn in order to express ourselves. Do it as much as possible. Of course, getting better at something takes time, so please be patient with yourself. This is something I personally struggle with because, often, when I am not SUPER good at something when I first try it, I quit. My thought process is: if I was meant to do this, I would be good at it. But that’s not how the world works. If you really want to do it, then you will practice so that you can progress.

  • HAVE FUN! PERIOD.

  • Check your self talk. If you're telling yourself you can't, or that you aren’t creative, that will definitely get in your way. Try changing how you talk to yourself, maybe even pump yourself up!

  • Carry a little notebook around with you ( I like to use my bullet journal), or you can use your phone to make notes of things that you think of during the day. I put up contact paper like whiteboards in my room and I like to write down my ideas of things there, as a reminder to me. Often, this will inspire me even more, and I keep adding to the list. What do these things mean? Not sure, but I know it will become apparent to you in no time!

  • Dedicate a space for your creativity. Just having a little corner to yourself for your creative time is so helpful, and because it’s dedicated to that, you don’t have to worry about cleaning it up or whatnot like all our other spaces. You will have all the things you need there in order to get into a flow. Just the right amount of clutter can be beneficial.

  • READ! Read anything! Read everything! It gets our brains going, and often, inspires us.

  • Be curious about everything. Wanna know more? Look into it. If it speaks to your heart, if your inner child says “MORE”, listen!

  • Ask more questions: this often leads to ideas on how to solve those problems. If you think of this problem, someone else probably has that problem too.

  • Don’t overthink it. I get stuck there a lot, and then end up doing nothing because I can't commit to one thing. Just do it. If it doesn’t work out like you wanted, do it again, and again, and again.

  • Play music while in the zone! I swear it helps!

  • Small steps are still steps! A little bit every day goes a long way.

  • Avoid any distractions, like phones!

  • Find a group! There are so many groups that you can join, or you could just find some friends and have a creativity night! It is so nice to be surrounded by people expressing themselves and often, that energy shows up in what we're working on.

  • KEEP REMINDING YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE CREATIVE! BECAUSE YOU ARE.


Hopefully, knowing the benefits of being creative and some tips on how to live a more creative life will help you to move towards being more creative. Obviously, if it’s been awhile, it can feel a bit uncomfortable at first. But then, you'll get in the flow, and it will feel so good.


Now, I will leave you with some more quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert and Julia Cameron. Enjoy.


“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear


“Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear


"At such times, I can always steady my life one more by returning to my soul. I ask it, "And what is it that you want, dear one?"


"The answer is always the same: "More wonder, please."


"As long as I'm still moving in that direction---toward wonder--then I know I will always be fine in my soul, which is where it counts. And since creativity is still the most effective way for me to access wonder, I choose it.”

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear


“Leap, and the net will appear.”

― Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity


“The voice of our original self is often muffled, overwhelmed, even strangled, by the voices of other people’s expectations.”

― Julia Cameron


“No matter what your age or your life path, whether making art is your career or your hobby or your dream, it is not too late or too egotistical or too selfish or too silly to work on your creativity.”

― Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity


Along with those two books, here are a few more (and those two) that I highly recommend:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull

Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity by Keith Sawyer


Like always, please be well, compassionate, kind, loving, and non judgemental towards others, and especially yourself.



4 views0 comments