What do you constitute as creativity? And when do you prioritize it?
I’ve long considered creativity to only be something you prioritize when it’s something you’re good at and can profit from. Only painters paint. Only writers write. But now I understand that there’s something lacking in that belief. Just because I don’t have the syntactical genius of Stephen King doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write stories. Just because my paintings look odd and disjointed doesn’t mean I shouldn’t paint. Practicing creativity is not just for people who are good at things; it’s for us “noncreative” people too! It gets us in touch with that inner child, the one that used to make up nonsensical games and choreograph cringeworthy dances to our favorite songs.
Since I started making creativity a priority, I’ve had to shush a lot of voices in my head that tell me that creativity is a waste of time. And those other voices that tell me I’m terrible and therefore unworthy of putting time into being creative. Where the hell did I learn those things?? Partially due to my perfectionism, certainly. But also due to societal pressures to focus on monetary gain over creative pleasure. In our capitalist structure, I’ve been asked over and over since learning to speak, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And that question isn’t asking about what pictures I want to paint or what stories I want to write, it’s asking about how I intend to make money. So that’s where my entire focus went—it’s no wonder I haven’t prioritized creativity for the past ten years, I’ve been too fixated on how I will make my living. And I most definitely won’t be making money any time soon off of my paintings, I can tell you that much. So it all fell by the wayside, taking with it my childlike delights.
If creativity is now something we’re prioritizing, how can we make space for it? Well, I found myself being creative during a particularly long game of Catan, wherein I found a way to balance each and every one of my pieces into the largest skyscraper in the land. So, honestly, I think creativity can be found anywhere. A friend of mine took my suggestion on finding 5 minutes of creativity in their day, and they managed to turn a scribble on a sticky note into a decorated scribble on a sticky note. They said it was surprisingly fun, and they keep that sticky on their desk as a reminder to find small moments of creativity. I’ve also been trying to schedule it into my day more. I noticed it was difficult to remember to squeeze creativity in when I didn’t write it down, so I’ve made that my priority. Brené Brown says that boredom is the best place to find creativity. She made it a priority when raising her kids to let them be bored so that they could access that inner creativity, and she likes to make herself as bored as possible whenever writing her books so that the creativity comes more naturally.
There are so many times and places that we can be creative; we just have to know that a) creativity can be found in small moments, b) creativity can be “bad” and still have worth, and c) creativity doesn’t have to have a purpose. Let yourself be surprised by what you can make!
If you want to be more creative but need a little extra encouragement or guidance getting there, schedule a consultation with me, and we can chat about how you can open up your creativity. Go forth and make stuff!