The muse is dead. Or at least I’m pretty sure she is, because she isn’t showing up around these parts.
And I’m feeling particularly hostile toward her this morning after reading about a writer who downloaded an entire book. She was a channel for the words. One minute they didn’t exist, the next she had them all on the page. Others have done this, created revelatory work from the ether. Not me.
But I have had days, months even, where the creative process – though always confusing and muddled and invigorating and mysterious – has worked for me. Where I had interesting ideas marinating even while I developed another. The process from the beginning, where it usually starts with an illogical and unformed hunch through the end-stage wow when you’re looking at how that hunch turned into something vast – is so exhilarating that I wait for it. I seek it. I study it in the hopes that it will happen again. Like right now. I’m waaiittinng.
Creativity is Linked to Happiness, Productivity
I know it’s there for me – somewhere. It’s there for all of us. Creativity is the one thing we all possess. It doesn’t ever completely dry up but after about second grade fitting in becomes more important than acting creatively. We begin to express our creative side differently, often suppressing and denying it. Then, we stop believing in it. At this point creativity becomes something so select that only a few – the Mark Twains, Georgia O’Keeffes, Beyoncé-types – can ever really be considered creative. The rest of us are just out of luck.
We think Twain? Heck, I can’t write anything like Twain (who can?) so I must not be creative. And, that’s the end of it. Embarrassed by the comparisons to “real writers and real artists” we abandon our own super power.
This, of course, makes us creatively insecure and totally unhappy because creativity, happiness, and well-being are linked. It is part of our innate nature. It helps us solve problems, achieve goals, finish work, relate to teach other and world.
We Are All Creative
Most of us are doing these things all the time though, because we can’t paint like Picasso, we are quick to declare – “no, no I’m not creative at all.” Still, we make up little songs to get the kids to brush their teeth and games to engage them at the grocery store. Or perhaps you’re the one looking for different ways to motivate a tribe of employees at work or solve the networking program, or juggle the family budget, or pull together a meal from the items you have left in the pantry – all which are creative pursuits.
Living is a creative endeavor because it challenges us constantly to adapt and adjust and discover and develop. Problem solving, pondering, exploring, are all a part of the creative process. So is mess and trial and error and exhilaration and even fear. So, you see, if you are on this planet, you’ve got some creative stuff going on just to survive the day-to-day. Creative, is who you are.
Access that creative power by first redefining what creativity is, then, take a look at how you are spending your time. I’m betting there are creative aspects to just about every routine task you take on. Finally, look beyond what you know and choose a new (or old) form of creative expression.
Return to your roots and rediscover those creative things you loved to do as a kid, dance, color, play music, write stories, shape clay, build forts, play. Get comfortable with creating again and you’ll find that your creative spirit never left.
Check out the site Wednesday for some quick, and counter-intuitive tips to help you access your creative spirit in the moment. Here’s a hint, you’ll want to start reading the phone book.