I had the pleasure of interviewing several artists and authors on how to break out of a creative rut. (Here’s that piece.)
In addition to sharing valuable tips and techniques, they also shared their wisdom on cultivating creativity in general. Today, I wanted to share their inspiring words on how to start and keep creating.
1. Realize that, yes, you are creative.
One of the biggest myths about creativity is that it’s bestowed on a lucky few, and the rest of us don’t have a creative bone in our bodies.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Christine Mason Miller, a mixed-media artist and author of Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World, “Being creative does not mean you have to ‘be an artist.’ Being creative is about expressing yourself, and the more we express ourselves, the more good we create in the world.”
Miller has witnessed the many different ways people channel their creativity. “I once talked to a parking garage attendant about his love of opera and the conversation has never left me. One of my best friends turned her love of chocolate and world travel into a brownie business.”
2. To keep creating, keep creating.
“Creativity begets more creativity,” said Jolie Guillebeau, an artist who’s been painting every day since February 15, 2010.
“When I’m creative, then I think of more ideas and more inspiration, which leads to more creating, which leads to more ideas.” She also stopped saving her ideas. “I use the ideas and have faith that more ideas will follow.”
3. Sit with creativity’s discomfort.
And that’s a good thing, she said. According to Smith:
If we are to partake fully in a creative act we might experience a plethora of uncomfortable emotions, and this is the point. This process of creating often involves throwing ourselves off balance for a time, into a situation where we have to make decisions on the spot. This forced decision-making puts us into a place where we have no choice but to accept what has occurred and then move on, to work with what exists.
But it also pushes us into some places we would not normally go — if we allow it to. During this whole process it becomes necessary to “sit” with discomfort as it arises, letting it exist. Allowing ourselves to fully experience the sensation of groundlessness (not knowing what we are doing), and enjoy the giddiness and terror that comes along with it.
4. Reframe creativity’s role in your life.
According to Jen Lee, an independent media producer and performer in New York City’s storytelling scene, “Most of us see [creativity] as a luxury — the dessert we’ll treat ourselves to if we first finish the vegetables of our ‘real work’ or chores. Repositioning creativity into a place of source — realizing that our energy and effectiveness flow from this spring — is the greatest thing we can do to cultivate it in our lives.”
So whatever passion you have, practice it. Doing so not only benefits you, but others as well. As Miller said, “Whatever it is you love, pursue it, learn about it, enjoy it [and] engage with it — this is what it means to live a creatively fueled life. And when we tap into this for ourselves we set an example for others, and it is these examples that the world needs. That creative energy spreads, and travels farther than we ever realize.”
How do you cultivate creativity?
Share in the comments section!