I was a little disappointed the other day when a friend from my writing course said she worked with creative people but that she wasn’t creative. I had to stop my instinct to reprimand her for using such negative self-talk.
Everyone is creative, it’s part of being human. When you plan your day, furnish your house, decide what to cook, or even think up an excuse you’re being creative.
I remember my first visit to the local leather craft store. Caught up in the moment, arms full with a pattern, leather, and tools, the store owner casually said (with good intent) ‘you’re only limited by your imagination’. It was enough to stop me in my tracks. I thought ‘I work in technology, I’m not creative’, so I returned everything to the shelves and went home empty handed. Fortunately, I eventually let go of that limiting belief and allowed myself to develop what’s now termed creative confidence.
You build your creative confidence by choosing small creative tasks, doing things you enjoy, to ensure success (which is about the creative experience, not the product). Your creativity also increases the more generous you are with it. Sharing or giving away ideas makes room for new ones, clinging to one idea through fear you won’t have another leads to blockages - you stop the energy flow.
Getting out there and playing and making mistakes, that’s how you create. Trial and error is part of the process, like learning to walk, or cook, or read.
Great musicians play music they don’t work it. That’s why I was unsettled by my friend’s comment. She’d already come up with an amazing concept for a story and stuck out the gruelling birth of her first draft, imagining new ideas all the time. She’d been playing and creating constantly and still she thought she wasn’t creative.
Everyone struggles with the creative process at some stage, but sitting with the uncertainty, giving yourself some headspace, and engaging in play will help you find the joy and inspiration again.
Everything we do is a creative choice. Every choice is an opportunity to create. You just need to trust in your creative spirit and give yourself the space to play.
But don’t just take my word for it…