Today I want to talk about what being creative means! Some people seem to know about creativity from a young age… they decide that they are going to be an artist, writer, dancer or anything else they want to be early on and their parents and the world seem to conspire to make it happen.
I KNOW, all of that comes with a lot of work and dedication, a crummy childhood and lots of tears, but their adult lives look pretty darn cool to me!
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I Didn't Know Creativity Was An Option
I on the other hand was a super creative kid, drawing and imagining and making all kinds of art until I got to high school and people started to talk super seriously about what I was going to be when I grew up. I honestly had no idea.
I don't know about you, but growing up in a little town in Northwestern Pennsylvania, we didn't see a whole lot of different occupations. Our parents were teachers, farmers or went to an office. A few Dad's were tool and die makers which could have been creative, but the boys that were working at the steel mills and factories were definitely not thinking that life could be fun and interesting!
Backing Into Creativity
The first time I was really confronted with how little I knew about what you could do as a “grown up” was when I took a Master Gardener class at the local botanical gardens.
I LOVED learning about plants and studying their properties and what made them so colorful… and one day I was overwhelmed by the thought that I could have taken horticulture in college (or even more classes at gardens).
That was never even an option… sigh.
I have a BA in Psychology because at 17 I had a vague notion that I wanted to help people and that major didn't require math. Are you freaking kidding me?
Since then I have actively tried all different kind of creativity! Just a few include:
- Taking an Adobe Illustrator course (I LOVE Illustrator and fonts and making logos and designs)
- Doing decoupage on bottles (I HATE making bottles, and swore I would never, ever do decoupage again!)
- Signing up for a welding class so I could learn to tack pieces of metal together (turns out it was a “real” welding class, I never learned to tack weld but I had a great time!)
- I have taken a BUNCH of online courses like Lifebook from Tam, Creative Live classes, and any other creative things that I think I might like) #promolink
- My most recent project (which I LOVE is making boxes to store my Etsy inventory in … using decoupage! I KNOW, I said I would never decoupage again, but these have flat sides!)
Here are things I have learned about finding creativity….
Be kind to yourself!
There is no one that will reach out, grab you and say, “dammit you need to be more creative”. ESPECIALLY if you are not one of the people that the world has said is creative. Don't believe that mean voice in your head that says you aren't creative or don't deserve it.
Take time for yourself
Everyone I know is busy, all-the-time! There isn't going to be a time that you have hours or days available to be creative, you will have to claw that time out, kicking and screaming from all the things that you SHOULD be doing! It is worth it I promise!
Try all the things
As you can tell, I am pretty adventurous! I like to try new things and enjoy the thrill of learning something new so I don't judge myself on all the different things I like… but watch out, other people will judge you! They will say things like, “You tried painting and quit”, “You just took a class on journalling, why do you need a class on mosaics?”
Ignore them, they have no soul!
Admit if you hate something and move on
On the other hand, make sure you quit fast. I knew within the first 15 minutes that I hated ripping up paper and sticking it on the bottles. I quit right then and there, even though I had spent a fair bit of money and research time on it. You are not a failure, that just wasn't your art!
Watching isn't the same as doing
Which leads me to another mistake. Sometimes we can watch YouTubes and take classes for weeks (years?) before we even try. Don't do that! Start right away… it will be terrible and you will be embarrassed by your first efforts, that is OKAY! We all want to be great when we start but being good takes real practice, not just watching someone else doing it!
It's okay to spend money on frivolous things
I spend A LOT on art supplies. I get stencils and sprays and stickers. I get paper and notebooks and coloring pencils. I have an office dedicated to holding all my supplies and I LOVE it! I know that I spend more on art supplies than the average bear, but I spend less on clothes (generally all thrift store finds) and I don't really care about being “hip” so I can move that money over to being creative.
Use your stuff, it is not precious!
When I was younger I wanted to “save” my supplies for something special. I cannot tell you how many tubes of paint I have thrown out because they got old or things that never found a “good enough” project to warrant using them. Throw caution to the wind! Use all your special supplies, have fun!
Nothing is ever a waste
Last but not least, ANYTHING you try has value! You may take a painting class and think that you hated it but learned about how to mix colors for the next thing you try. Maybe macrame made you want to claw your eyes out, but you learned that you liked working with fiber so you moved over to knitting. Trying ANYTHING will get your creative juices going!
A Creative “Friend”
Just to let you know it is possible, I want to talk to talk a minute about a fellow I follow on Facebook. He is a schoolmate of my little brother or was in my Dad's scout troop (somehow I know him from that same little hometown I grew up in!)
Kevin went to art school (lucky) but then life got in the way and he didn't paint again until he was in his 40s. Just recently he started selling his paintings when he was 47 years old. They are amazing and I am so proud to know someone who can do art like this!
But he does all kinds of other creative things too like painting his house a bunch of different colors and making wooden things.
Please remember there isn't a time limit on being creative! You can start anytime you want!