If you type creativity into google you receive this definition:
“The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work”
Seems simple, huh?
But it’s not always that easy.
As children, we all seem to be exceptionally creative. We make up stories. We draw. Some of us have imaginary friends. We aren’t just kids on the swingset, we are pirates. Or princesses. Cowboys. Cops and robbers. We let our imagination run wild and most of the time the grownups let us be free to imagine. They ask what do you want to be when you grow up and don’t balk when we say ballerina or space explorer. But somewhere along the line, we lose the freedom to be creative. To let our minds wander wherever they want.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
Because companies say they want us to think outside the box but when we do we are chastised? Because we feel we must conform? Because we have to join the real world?
Some people maintain their creativity, even while working in non-creative fields. They spend their nights and weekends continuing their creative endeavors from childhood.
But how do the rest of us reclaim our creativity?
Once I was out of college, I stopped pursuing creative hobbies. I put away my art supplies, packed away my SLR and never looked back. I entered the workforce with my BS in management and got a job in human resources. I still sang and danced in my living room, but nothing overtly creative. I picked up blogging around 2008, which was a good outlet for me. But I still wasn’t fully happy or feeling creative.
I bought my digital SLR a few years ago and at first, I felt no different. I was taking photos of my dogs. I knew I wanted to do more, to be better but wasn’t sure what was missing. The more photos I took, the more I wanted to do. I wanted to be more creative.
But I didn’t know how to get there.
I pulled out my art supplies. I bought an adult coloring book. I started dressing up and wearing makeup again. I started to feel different.
I started to feel creative again.
I am slowly transitioning to feeling more artistic, which in turn brings me more joy. Being happier makes me want to do more and produce better work. I know I will never be a painter professionally but I still love to do watercolor. I love shopping for art supplies. My favorite mediums are pastels and charcoal. I don’t do these for others, though, I do them for myself.
Sometimes we have to be selfish.
I do my photography for others. I show people how I see the world. Everything else is for me. To help me be more creative, less stress, more joyful. From time to time, I may post a photo of something I’ve created on social media but it’s not about the result, it’s about the process.
You must feed your creativity to keep it alive. Like anything else, you need to practice being creative. It should be a daily habit, like brushing your teeth or reading before bed. You can bring it back to life. It takes time and effort but your creativity is still there, lurking inside you.
My challenge to you is: Do something creative today. Draw a picture, take a photo (not a snapshot, really think about your subject), make up a song, write a story. Once you’ve done that, come back and tell me about it in the comments!