Some people write themselves off, saying “I’m not creative”, I don’t think that is true, it just is that they are not creative in the traditional ways that people consider creativity; art, music, craft, design. But the reality is that any time we think, we are being creative. It starts with the mind and transfers to the hands and in turn can heal the mind by being an output for the mind and soul. Creativity is freedom, it is the freedom of choice and when we stop ourselves or perceive limits to our choices it can also limit our creativity. For example when money was tight I thought that I couldn’t get creative, I couldn’t invest in materials but actually part of the creative journey was finding a way to be creative without any money. I still had access to pen and paper for example. I still had to find a way to cook, I could still dream and try to change the money situation with business ideas. Limitations are a big inspiration to get creative.
“What is creative living? Any life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than fear.” Elizabeth Gilbert.
When I worked as a print designer we would be commissioned to design a logo, a brochure or visual identity and such like. Occasionally you would have a client who would have a much ‘better’ idea than you of what they wanted their item to look like. They would have an opinion on colour or fonts or placement, and part of the job was often persuading them that they were paying you to do the work and that with more years of experience and knowledge as how design works and what colours, typefaces, space etc communicate and function – your ideas were the better ones to go with. (eg. “No, Ms Client, Comic Sans is really not a good typeface choice for communicating professionally.”) We would sometimes have to go as far as art-working up their ideas and showing them in comparison to our concepts and rationale, for them to realise that our concept was more considered and better communicated what they wanted it to.
Despite paying you to do the work, these clients would want to do your job for you. I noticed that there is this inherent need in people to be creative. If they didn’t have an outlet in their job to make pretty pictures they would want to get involved in the project that they had commissioned you to do. And it wasn’t that they didn’t think I or the team could do the job (because they had, after all, commissioned us), they just couldn’t help themselves from wanting to get creative.
When I ran creative evenings people loved having the set time, materials, equipment and ideas provided to make something. Often it would be a break from what they spent most of their days doing. I heard comments such as “this should be available on the NHS”. It seems that creating is good for us, good for our emotional and mental health. We know this, we see this with the rise of colouring books and magazines for mindfulness and the resurgence of crafts. We see the popularity of Pinterest, home design tv shows, Kirstie Allsopp setting up the Handmade Fair event, the Great British Bake Off and more.
“Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgement, sorrow, shame.” Brene Brown
I believe we are all designed to create, we can’t help it. Whether or not you believe in a God who created us, we can’t deny that we are creative beings. It is in our DNA. We know that we live better when we have a creative outlet and I’m not just talking about the professional artists among us, I’m talking about all of us, finding those small ways to get creative in our ways of doing things, in our hobbies, sports, our very living.
So I guess what I am saying is what you already know, – keep creating because you are designed to, keep finding those ways to live out what you are called to do. Be brave, be you, be authentic, be vulnerable and get creative and I think we will all be better for it.
Create, Make, Breathe and Live. I for one will cheer you on!
This week I made this little Maker’s Manifesto for readers of this blog, if it’s something you also love then you can get a free printable of it when you subscribe.
What are the ways you love to express your creativity? Comment below, I’d love to know.
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6 ways to discover your creativity e-mag & bonus printable manifestos.