You say you’re not creative. Maybe you pride yourself on being practical. Your baby registry consisted of diapers and wipes, with a few “cute” items thrown in to appease others wanting to buy fun gifts. Or you spend your days giving sales pitches, solving math equations, or reading toddler books. And although your day-to-day tasks in business, academia, parenthood, or whatever else truly do require endless amounts of creative thinking, creativity feels light years away.
Let me tell you this. You are creative. Everyone is creative. As Picasso said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Some of us grew up and put pragmatism on a pedestal, allowing it to hover over creativity like a disgruntled and antagonistic boss. Is there beauty that’s worthwhile if it exists apart from usefulness?
We weren't created to sit and twiddle our thumbs until a practical task came along. Creating was part of the task. Yes, being creative can also be useful – like building structures to live in or cooking food required for daily sustenance. But I truly believe that God did not give us the minds we have just to do that which our culture deems as useful.
Some of us have pushed creativity aside because of a shameful experience in our past when we tried to be creative, or because we’ve simply lost our way, our childishness, our free spirit, our ability to let go of inhibition and self-criticism. We’ve listened to the siren song of perfectionism, doubt has sunk into our minds, and we question whether the act of creating, or, more accurately, what we create, has value at all.
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown writes, “There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t. Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.”
We may hear shame and doubt yell in our ear nearly every time we sit down to create. But if we learn to muffle those voices, those inner critics and the haunting lure of perfectionism pulling us away from our work, I believe we will hear the true and trustworthy voices of beauty, awe, wonder, delight, empathy, and refreshment we never realized we silenced in the first place.
Beauty, just as we see in creation, is a gift. And the ability to pursue beauty through creative work? That is a privilege not to be taken lightly. You are creative. You have work to do and beauty to show the world, in whatever medium you may choose. Your creative work may look different a year from now. You may feel like what you create isn’t any good, and those voices of shame and doubt may start to speak loudly again. But you mustn’t let them. The act of creating, regardless of the tangible outcome, can influence you, and even those around you, in profound ways.
So put your hands to work. Grab your pen and paper, your paintbrush, your chef’s knife, your guitar, your clay, your hammer and nails. And start creating something.
Want to create this year, but not really sure how to get started? Join The Year of Creativity with Coffee + Crumbs, a 12-month journey to help women pursue creativity alongside motherhood. (January’s course material will remain available, so you don’t have to worry about starting partway through the year.)
Each month includes lessons, creative exercise, digital gifts, artist interviews, and writing prompts. There is also a ton of community support through our Year Of Creativity Facebook group, so you can ask questions, share thoughts, and glean inspiration from others along the way.
Click here to sign up, and use the coupon code SARAH15 at checkout for 15% off the registration fee!