Let's Talk About Creativity

An abstract/out of focus view of a small street in Midtown Atlanta with lots of big bokeh of the street lights and headlightsAbstract Atlanta - a street in midtown after sunset

What Is Creativity?

I wanted to say a few words about creativity today. 

Over the last few years (and a few times recently), I've had many lovely emails from followers who have complimented me on my creativity. I appreciate that! 

There's also a common thread I've noticed in those emails. People almost always follow that up with a word about how they aren't creative at all. 

I believe everyone is creative. But it seems like most people think they have to be outstanding at something or have a natural-born talent before they feel creative.

I also think we put too many limitations on the definition of creativity. 

Humans are creative. We have a natural desire to create. 

It's true that some of us feel so compelled to create that we constantly find ourselves creating in an obvious way. 

I've always loved taking photographs, and I've always felt drawn to it - magnetically so. 

No matter what I'm doing, I see moments in my mind as if I'm framing them up for a photograph. If I'm walking down the street, I see so many things I want to photograph and I think about how I'd take the photo - what angle, what the light should look like. 

One of the reasons I love photography so much is because I love to draw but I'm not patient enough to take the time to get good.

I wouldn't say I have a natural talent for drawing but I've learned that almost everyone can draw if they really want to, make the effort, and take lots of time practicing. 

Don't believe me?

Experiment With Creativity

Try this little experiment. Do a Google search for black and white line drawings. 

Pick one out - try a face - one you're sure you'd never be able to draw. Now...print it out. 

Get yourself a piece of paper and a pencil. 

Take the printed image and set it on the table in front of you. Make sure it's UPSIDE DOWN. 

Look at the image and stop seeing the image as a face - look only at the lines.

Start from the top, bottom, or side of the page - whatever you want. And start drawing the lines as you see them. Don't label the lines in your mind (nose, ear, etc.). 

Only look at the lines and copy them as you see them. 

When you're done, turn everything back right side up and see what you've drawn.

If you don't overthink this exercise and you only draw the lines as you see them without labeling them in your mind, I can just about guarantee that you're going to surprise yourself with your finished image. Try doing this every day for a week. 

See? You're creative!

It's about time, desire, and effort. The more you create, the more you'll create, and the more creative you'll be. 

Another important piece is not caring what other people think of what you're creating.

And remember - stop setting limits on creativity. 

Cooking is creative. 

Cleaning house is creative if you make it creative. 

Creativity is like prayer. You don't have to say specific words and be in a church to pray. You can pray and meditate while you're doing the dishes, vacuuming, or gardening. 

Plato said humans had three parts - the mind, body, and spirit. Creativity is part of our spirit, and I believe we ignore it to our detriment. 

I think lots of people are frustrated and almost enraged these days because they feel stuck in jobs they don't like, living a lifestyle they find unfulfilling that they're not happy with, and totally ignoring their creative and spiritual sides. 

If you feel stuck in any way, bring some creativity into your life. Pick up a pencil and paper and draw - it doesn't matter what!

Decorate a wall in your home, or find some beautiful new throw pillows for a pop of color.

My mom has told us her whole life that she's not creative.

I beg to differ.

Mom's a great cook. She's also an amazing seamstress, makes beautiful quilts, and does embroidery, cross-stitch, and other creative things.

She is super creative but she doesn't give herself enough credit.

I want you to give yourself creative credit (and my mom too!). 

Indulge Your Creative Side

Will creativity solve all your problems? I can tell you from experience - definitely not! But it will help. 

Pursuing creativity makes life sweeter and it helps you express part of yourself that you might not otherwise give voice to. It helps your brain problem-solve. 

Like prayer and meditation, creativity is a tool for coping with life. 

Get creative!

And, see you between the raindrops!