I’d like to believe creativity is something everyone is capable of, that maybe some people just never had the proper stimuli or supportive environments as children. But I really don’t know. Maybe it’s more than a skill. Maybe creativity is a gift.
For me, it’s a given. I create because I am. Because I feel. Because I want to feel connected to something other than myself, to emotion and beauty and other people. I want to touch and be touched. So I create.
I create poetry, paintings, sketches, chocolate cakes and lasagnas, elearning courses, electronic paintings, photographs, videos, bowls and cups and vases and plates.
I create songs. My turquoise ukulele in hand, I strum two or three out of the ten chords I know and sing whatever is on my mind. I type up the lyrics in a notes app on my phone right away. I edit them. I practice a couple of times, and then I turn on the recording device. Sometimes I use my phone, but usually I’m recording in GarageBand on my iPad. When I create a song this way, I’m singing about something in my life, expressing my feelings, sometimes even crying it out while I sing. And I record exactly that. It’s rough and raw and so completely unprofessional. And it’s So. Fucking. Therapeutic! By the time I’m done, I feel lighter. And I listen to my creation with a little pride and a big sense of accomplishment.
This process usually takes me one or two nights, and then I publish my magic to SoundCloud. I may share the link with a friend or two. I publish them publicly and a few random people and ad agencies listen and comment.
This process is relevant because it’s about creating without concerns about perfection.
Sometimes just getting your art out there is enough.
If I worried about singing out of tune or playing the wrong note, if I criticized myself for “flaws” in my art, I would be stalled. Obsessing with perfection takes a lot of energy. It takes time. And I’ve realized that I’d rather create more, practice, and create more than just obsess over one thing eternally, rerecording or practicing until it is flawless.
This quality is one of a generalist. Do many things well, but not one thing expertly. Neither the generalist nor the specialist has any advantage over “creativity” as a practice, but the generalist has much more freedom to create. It is with that freedom, one can grab hold and master the art of creativity!
It’s the same process for my pottery. I focus on creating new things, on learning and practice. I’ve learned to let go of the flaws, to see the mistakes as growth opportunities and I try again. And I started saving and publishing the recordings of my failures.
Because failure is part of the path to success. But that’s only true if you don’t give up.
Always try again.
If you want to be a creative person, that’s my advice. You must continue to create. You must try again and again. You must pick yourself up, dust off, and jump back on the horse.
Let go of your notions of being this amazing dream artist, and just be the person you are today who creates art.
Stop comparing yourself or your work to others. Accept the differences, appreciate the uniqueness. Celebrate your originality! And know that creativity is a process. Put your crap art out there too. I mean it. Even if you feel your work isn’t the best or that it’s total crap, get it out there! There’s scientific evidence that too much confidence in your work is demotivating. Aiming for perfection and achieving perfection can prevent you from trying harder next time or improving your skills.
Mastering creativity means letting go to just create.