You Can Be Creative. Even If You Think You Are Not.

Have the words – I’m just not creative – ever come out of your mouth?

I hear them often and even apply these four words to me when I am in the dark forest of a project.

But is this a true statement?

Are some people born with a creative gene and the rest are not?

That sentence – I’m just not creative – should be abolished.

The idea that some elect individuals are born with a creative gene comes from the same people that believe writers are born. Would you believe that about a plumber, an electrician, or a doctor?

Absolutely not. Just ask Chuck Close. He was told he should aim for trade school and body and fender work in eighth grade.

These are terribly lies and limiting beliefs that keep us from living creative, fulfilling lives.

Creativity is only a name for aged, intentional practice.

I can’t count the times I have heard the phrase – I’m just not creative. I wish to stop this nonsense. If you say them to me I promise to be gracious. But remember, creativity is born out of diligent practice and exposure to new ideas.

You may have to read more difficult books and write down definitions of words you do not know to expand your vocabulary.

Perhaps it is time to tell that art teacher you know that you’ve always thought plein air painting was interesting, could they point you in the right direction?

Part of creativity is curiosity – looking for new ways of doing the same old stuff to reinvigorate or uproot established processes.

Ira Glass, famed radio personality and producer, was recorded saying that there is a gap between being a beginner and a professional in creative work. At the edge of the gap – this is where people stop.

We figure that’s it. I guess I’ll never become/attain/change ______.

Maybe you’ve stopped?

Stopped being brave or hopeful because creative work is not easy. We get frustrated with a process or even our own inability to create this great work that we know is harbored deep within.

I challenge you today, and this is just as much for me as it is for you, to examine your process. See what is in your way.

Do you need more practice?

Do you need exposure to creative ideas or people?

Are you doing the very same things that don’t challenge or inspire you and lead to the very same results?

What is in the way? What is creating that gap?

Here’s what Ira Glass has to say about The Gap:

 

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This Is The Year To Go On The Offensive

Do you make statements like – Someday I’ll pay off my house? Or, I’ll get to that book tomorrow, or let’s attack that unorganized closet during the spring.

Me too.

Lately, I discovered there’s a huge difference between saying you want to do X, Y, or Z and putting a date on the calendar when you’re actually going to accomplish it.

As in, I want to pay off my house in ten years. I want to write that book in the next one hundred and sixty days. I’ll say sayonara to that disorganized closet next Saturday at 10 AM.

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When a brand-new year rolls around I like to make plans. I have goals this year. My main focus is to change my goal setting routine.

I used to think I make excuses. But now I realize I’m just lazy with some of my internal promises. I leave them unbound to a certain time thinking I’ll accomplish these tasks in the nebulous future.

Though I have excuses aplenty, I want 2016 to be a huge success. So I’ve written goals down with a specific date they are going to be completed by.

I’ve left dreams on the shelf in years past. This year, I’m going on the offensive, chasing after the things I’ve always wanted to accomplish.

So look out e-books.

Look out website.

Look out debt and disorganized junk drawer.

I’m coming for you.

As the new year comes and the old one passes, don’t just ask yourself what your are going accomplish this New Year. Set a date. Then go get it.

Having Trouble Being Creative? Try This

Life has ebb and flow, like the tide. Our writing projects, careers, and businesses can be growing, failing, or just staying the same. With all of these changes in our daily lives, how can we stay on the path of growth with the give and take of the creative process?

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Take A Creative Inventory

In order to remain creative, we must know two things. We need to know what breathes life into us. And we need to know what causes us to become bogged down.

Do you know the answers to those two questions? They will remain the same no matter what is happening in our lives, because these are questions about who we are. The trouble is knowing what we need.

Are you tired?

Frustrated?

Feeling dull and uninspired?

Busy?

Where are you right now?

Once you know where you are you can work on what you need.

If you are tired, there’s nothing better than a nap or night of sleep. This may sound counter intuitive because you want to be productive, but there is a signification correlation between proper sleep and how well we function.

If you are uninspired, block off some time and give this question some thought. The answer may be in the recent past. What gave you motivation to dive into that project last year? What gave you the gumption to try a new form of writing? Was it a movie or a book or a painting or a classical soundtrack? What was your spark?

Test It For Yourself

Often we are unclear as to what we should do next. What we are looking for is the perfect answer, but what we need is a laboratory.

We need to listen our favorite album, take a walk in the woods, have a conversation, or a nap. Once we start to understand the rhythm of creativity, we will know what our next step should be.

Give you self some space today to answer these questions. Where are you at right now in your creative endeavor? What do you need at this moment to keep growing?

Remember The End Goal

It’s nice to test new theories and blaze new trails but we must remember our goal. We are trying to write a book, start a business, build a platform, etc. The lab is a place to test what works. We must use what we discover about ourselves and what makes us tick as a launching pad, not a home base.

Make sure you pick a point in your schedule to leap, and actually do it.

Creative, What Do You Struggle With Most?

The creative life demands a lot. Whether you are a writer, artist, new business owner, or entrepreneur, we all have kryptonite of one kind or another.

Maybe it’s spreadsheets. Or organization. Maybe it’s being alone in your own world for far too long where you start to change the way that you think, and not for the better.

I think it’s important to know what we struggle with the most.

Struggle

I had a conversation with my boss a few months ago and I asked her to name one thing that I need to improve on. She brought up the fact that I excel in a lot of areas but I sometimes struggle with details. As much as it hurt, this is entirely true.

I got back to my desk and thought about it. I could see it in my work files and even the pictures hanging on my cubicle wall. I started to think about my home organization and my lawn. I noticed a lack of polish in places I didn’t expect.

After a brief stint where I licked my wounded pride, I realized I had an opportunity and decided to use it as fuel.

This struggle may never end. But at least I am aware of it and I can try a few different methods to help improve.

Some may think they are not a detail oriented person but I don’t buy categories. It seems too much like a safe place to live or an excuse to not grow.

I can be impatient and I need to work on that. I’m not detail oriented and I need to work on that too.

What do you struggle with the most? How do you feel about it?