I love creativity.
Read these words carefully, because when I write that sentence, it’s in the same vein of someone saying “I love love.” They love the things to do with love; they love having someone to care for and to care for them. They love the romantic dinner dates. The enormous feeling that can overwhelm their being when they find the right person. But, when it comes to the crunch, you don’t just love ‘love’. You love a specific person, and being in love with them has incredible highs and ridiculous lows. You do the completely fantastic and the unbelievably terrible times together and that’s what creates love.
Well, that’s how I am with creativity.
I love creativity. My husband is a graphic designer, my closest friends are musicians and crafters and builders. I am totally in love the idea of investing myself into one or two hobbies that I whittle away the hours doing in my spare time; then to have a final piece or product to look back on and think, “Wow! What a blast!”
And then I sit down with everything I have prepared to start this creative venture… then casually push all of it to the side and turn on my favourite TV show. “Ugh!!!!” I always think to myself, “What a nice idea, but who has that much patience?! What if I don’t like what I start, what a waste of time? Who can be bothered? I’m so tired.” And so my creative intent sits in the back corner of my house with about eleven other failed creative attempts.
Anyone feel me?
It has taken me a long time to accept that I am not a modern creative. I know that I am creative, and I know it buzzes inside of me to want to do …something. But when I realised I wasn’t a scrapbooker, or a musician, or a knitter, or a photographer, I honestly thought I had hit the world’s creative limits for my life. “That’s it,” I remember thinking, hanging up my hypothetical apron, “I’m not the creative I thought I was.”
And then one day, I feel like God spoke to me clearly about it. See, I believe in God, and I believe that he’s the God that created every enormously large structure and yet every intricate detail; from the running order of the solar system, all of the way down to the DNA in my weirdly functional body. I believe he is the God of all creation, the King of all creativity. Interestingly, in Genesis it says that we are created in His image, and also references that He made us in the likeness of him. If we join those biblical truths together with who we are, we are clearly not just “in love” with creativity, but we are all made to be creative in some form, just like Him.
So, with this in mind, I threw my list up to him and said (probably in a whining voice), “But God, I’m not very good at these very few things I tried doing for two minutes.” Yeah. And regardless of whether or not you believe in the same big ol’ creative God as me, that’s when I feel he shared with me what creativity is for all of us living and breathing humans.
Creativity is something only limited by your own brain. Creativity stops where you stop, where you give up, where you let your mind stop expanding or imagining. I can take a good guess that people who built skyscrapers and pyramids and cities didn’t just throw in the towel because they couldn’t crochet. If we get locked into an idea of what being creative looks like, it can limit all that we are able to do.
So assuming we are all born as expansive creative beings, what does your creativity look like?
I could list a hundred different creative forms but that could still limit you to my ideas of creativity, purely by what my own brain is capable of thinking. See, God may have created us all in his image but each of us is created uniquely. We work like parts of a body, with no two humans exactly the same. So what makes us think that all of our talents and sources of joy are exactly the same?
So, open your mind and narrow your search.
One. What do you like to do?
It can be that simple yet brilliant place to start. What do you currently spend time doing? And what do you enjoy? Look for things in your everyday life that you look forward to, that you invest yourself into. Chances are it’s a breeding ground for a whole new creative form.
Two. What do you find people compliment you about?
You might find that, if you listen carefully, people are probably pointing out some creative things that you are good at and maybe don’t value as highly as you should. Sometimes, it’s easy to miss something fruitful to spend time on because you can be investing in the newest or the most expected. Keep your ears to the ground.
Three. What are some things you’ve dreamt of but have not done due to fear of time/inadequacy/comparison/not liking it long term/not having enough patience to finish the damn thing?
Well, then stop that. There is no useful advice I have here except make time, stop trying to be the best, make mistakes, be honest with yourself. Remember that the hardest, most challenging times in finding and then doing what you love will bring out the ugliest, most unrefined version of you. Learning patience, as much as it can be revealing, creates in you a new, resilient, maturing being. Find your biggest hurdle in whatever form, recognise its lie and just start! These fears can limit us our entire lives if we choose not to overcome them.
So now, decide whether or not you agree with this, and if you do, be bold.
Step out and just do something. Best case scenario, you break out of your mould of what you thought creative looked like and start a fun new adventure. Worst case scenario, you get half a blanket and a big ol’ bucket of character building.