What is creativity? Can only certain people create? Is creating always about art?
Those are some valid questions, and most of us contemplate on the subject sooner or later. We tend to have different answers to them too. But the reality is obvious – we are all creators. We all have this unbelievable curiosity – sometimes though – buried deep down inside. Due to our upbringing, the lack of some inner (or outside) incitement or even acquired laziness (?).But creativity is about creative living most of all and we can revive it – even if it was somehow lost or neglected along the way.
People often wonder if they should start anything new, anything even remotely creative because they fear everything has already been said and done and hence – will not be 100% original. And while that might be somewhat true – everything might have already been said and done – it hasn’t been done by YOU. There is a huge difference between being original and being authentic. And creativity is not about the world-class revelation or some sensational international phenomena or even 50 million followers. It is about finding the things that make you bloom, that make you wait anxiously for the next day. And only you yourself can know for certain what those things are.
I like the idea that (nearly) none of our biggest ideas are completely and utterly ‘new’. They somehow are built from a number of old thoughts/ideas and projects – recycled in a way into something that was born in our brain.
I came up with a metaphor that I find very useful when talking about creativity and originality. One might argue that they will never find a partner. There’s already so many men and women in the world – they might say – that this potential partner naturally has all those people to choose from. See that? How absurd it sounds? If that was the case our species would be long gone by now. But it hasn’t happened yet. We fall in love, we decide that one person is significantly more interesting or attractive to us than all the others. And while that might ( for most people) mean that they engage in a relationship with one person when one relationship ends – chances are – a new one will begin. Most of us also have friends and acquaintances. And a lot of them too.
Same with creativity. While as consumers of different content we have our favorites, we don’t usually read just one author, or give up reading all together because there’s no more chapters left in our favorite book now do we? Otherwise, we wouldn’t follow a couple hundred people on IG. We do though – because we genuinely like to see what they create. We subscribe to dozens of YouTube creators because we love what they do and how they do it. What I mean by that metaphor is that all of us can find a niche, space where we do our thing and we feel comfortable doing it. How so? Because it is fueled by our unique voice that comes from the combination of our life experience, genes, social context and so on! And there are people out there who are looking to find someone like YOU. Just like our friends and significant others have done – and found us, and just like we did – coming up with our happy bunch.
We are all creative. Yes. All of us.
Some people are just more comfortable than others thinking that. Why? Maybe they’ve been encouraged enough since they were little, maybe their talent is so obvious, it couldn’t go unnoticed or maybe it was a series of good decisions in all the right moments. All the above may result in a person KNOWING and accepting this creative side of theirs, and so in USING it in life. Unfortunately, some creative souls out there aren’t that fortunate and don’t know that about themselves. YET. So if you are one of them, maybe it’s time for you to discover it for yourself and then maybe let the others get to know your uniqueness too.
Creativity is not like mathematics – it’s not linear or black and white. It’s messy and whimsical. BUT:
“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” Maya Angelou
So what can you do to realize what you have at your disposal?
- Treat your creativity as a SKILL – as a TOOL. Even though you’re born with the energy to create, it may have been neglected, and so your task now is to revive it and use it well.
let yourself be curious – experiment. It so happens the confidence awaits around the corner. Together with the next improbable idea, or the next experience. Sometimes it might be right outside your cosy comfort zone. A new medium, a new perspective, a new area – possibilities are countless. So why not do it? why not take a step further – what’s the risk? Worst case scenario – you’ll see it’s not there. You’ll filter out what doesn’t work for you. One thing is for sure – there is some creative outlet/spark/thought – whatever you call it – not very far away from where you are. Just let yourself actively find it. Chances are it will not come by itself;)
Create more than you consume – aren’t we all guilty of that? browsing, scrolling, watching, reading. It’s all very important, but do we do it wisely? Same as with our stomachs. Do we eat all day? Everything we like? Not at all. We need the body to process what we consumed in order for the food to be nutritious. Same with consuming content. Let it sink, let it brew, let it get you ideas and inspirations. And do create; by doing that you will meet what excites you and what draws people towards you eventually.
Be consistent/persistent – whether it is writing or recording, painting or doing whatever – just do it. Picasso once said: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” And there is an uneasy truth to that. Oftentimes we give up or decide it’s not worth it, but sooner or later doing so we discover we lost the enthusiasm and the curiosity along the way. Also – consistency turns into a habit – or as some say – IS a habit. It’s like training a muscle. One workout is not enough if you’re thinking of changing your body silhouette.
Journaling. As old-fashioned as it may seem (to some) – it is a potential goldmine. Journaling understood as an uninterrupted burst of your spontaneous flow of thoughts that is. You write what comes to mind – preferably in the morning, preferably every single day. No judgement, no evaluating as you go. Just you and your inner voice. You will find a meaning of it when you’re ready.
- Make sure you have some YOU time. A time spent in solitude, most importantly without any distractions. Yes – a phone is your distraction too. Perhaps one of the biggest;) Plan and execute some time where you can just think. Take a 30-minute walk, look at the sea, passing cars, the morning sky, take a long bath. Whatever is available, whatever feels like you. All this helps your brain process whatever new information you put there.
“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude.” Rollo May
“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude.
Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.” Nicola Tesla
Next up is something that’s easily forgotten or thought of as unnecessary.
- MAKE NOTES. Period. You may be on your creative peak, but you very well know this one thing by now. Some ideas if not written down, have a nasty tendency of flying off towards an undisclosed location. Never to be heard of again.
Physical activity to your creativity is almost like going to the gym to lift some weights if you want to be strong. As simple as that. Each thirty-minute workout starts to elevate the levels of the neurotransmitters in your brain – dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin. And this is your good mood we’re talking about here, and your ability to focus which is essential for the creative process.
In the end – finding your voice and eventually sharing it with people will make you feel alive, connected and fulfilled like you’ve never imagined. As long as you’re true to yourself. You don’t have to get creative to please the world, or to prove anything. But you might want to start exploring this direction to live a fuller life. Life of curiosity and new possibilities. Only then will you manage to be a more capable version of yourself. Remember about PROCRASTINATION though. It is an ugly sister of CREATIVITY, it’s worth mentioning here.
Have you ever been stuck not knowing where to go next? Doubting your creativity?
Maybe you did spark that creative soul of yours? Please share your thoughts <3