Is everyone creative? What do you think? If you had to pick a side to this debate, which side would you be on?
Some would say the non-creative side, and even go on to cite the inability to draw or do some very specific artistic endeavor, as well as a myriad of other creative activities one can’t do.
But what if one looks at the can-do side, painting the spectrum of creativity very broadly to include composition of anything from recipes to music, to writing, to art pieces and more?
Julia Cameron, known for creating the Miami Vice series, wrote The Artist’s Way. Essentially, it is a workbook to help each person uncover their own creativity and even “u-turn” back to projects abandoned. It speaks to everyone’s creativity, and specifically proclaims that creativity is a gift from God and what is done with creativity is our gift back to God. More can be found about this author at juliacameronlive.com. (Note: if you don’t like the term God, don’t use this as an excuse to hide from your creativity. Call it Spirit, Universe, True Self, Higher Power, or whatever resonates with you).
Starting with this concept that there is work we must do to unleash our creativity, let’s look broader. What are some other steps you might take?
- TALK OUT THE BLOCKS. If experiencing a block that is holding back your creativity, work towards determining the specific reason. Reasons for blocks include things like procrastination, fear, self-doubt or something else. Writer Billie Wade considers shame as one of the culprits. She explains that it “tells us we are defective and unworthy of joy, happiness, and reaching our goals. It’s the gnawing feeling in our solar plexus that we’re not okay, and anything we do is not okay.” (https://thewritepractice.com/writers-block-shame/). Working with someone, such as a licensed mental health professional or a spiritual director, can prove helpful to determining when and where your blocks are happening. An international database of spiritual directors exists at www.sdiworld.org.
- WORK ALONE WITH YOUR CREATIVITY. A self-directed program might be a better place to start for some individuals. Fortunately, there are a plethora of books available to the individual who likes to be self-guided. The Julia Cameron book previously mentioned is a great place to start, but so are books specific to the genre one is interested in. The site https://www.quartoknows.com has a plethora of books related to specific areas of creativity. Examples include becoming a makeup master, using clay, how to grill, and the ubiquitous Walter Foster How to Draw & Paint series for anything from cartooning, to oil & acrylic, to drawing specific animals.
- DO YOUR THING EVERY DAY. Get the creative juices flowing by doing something creative every day. If it’s painting, then paint. If it’s interior decorating, then decorate. And within your genre, it doesn’t need to be the same thing all the time. For example, if you are interested in painting, try watercolor, sketching first or just slapping the paint on an empty canvas. If you are a writer, here are examples of various daily writing assignments: A. Journal your thoughts. Prompts could be varied among what happened yesterday, what’s coming today, pestering thoughts, what’s making the heart sing. Write poetry or a short story. B. Write letters to the editor of any magazine or newspaper you’re reading. C. Write love letters to a real or imaginary person.
- MARRY YOUR CREATIVITY. Create a contract between yourself and your creativity. For example, Elizabeth Gilbert, famous for Eat, Pray, Love, in her nonfiction piece Big Magic, tells how, at an early age, she wrote up a marriage contract between herself and her writing. Be specific about what you’re agreeing to do by including the frequency and length of time you’ll devote to it. Have fun with it! Write it as one would write mushy, loving wedding vows or write it tongue-in-cheek legal style with as many a legal jargon: therefore, mutual covenant, herein, acknowledgement, parties hereto agree, etc.
- ATTEND RELATED WORKSHOPS OR EVENTS. Attend workshops or events that relate to your project. Check out local listings, art centers, adult evening programs. Make it a trip and go to a national conference such as one for writers.
- It’s the operative word. One must do the work. Do any or all of steps one to five once, repeatedly, in this exact order or jump around. Sitting idle will mean ideas never come to fruition. Getting started can take you to where you wanted to be or somewhere better!
This list is not all-inclusive, of course, because how one gets to their creativity can be unique to the individual. The importance of it is to signify that we must do the work ourselves!
For more interesting reading on creativity see