November 8, 2012

I Am Not Creative

One of my biggest pet peeves – besides Dancing with the Stars or people who talk on their phone in the bathroom – is people who say, “Oh, I can’t do that. I’m not creative.” That’s a bunch of baloney and I don’t believe anyone who says that.

If you say that about yourself then you are not giving yourself enough credit. Or you are being lazy. Everybody is creative. Maybe you didn’t go to art school or win first prize at a crafts fair – but I guarantee that you have made creative decisions. Some of them are probably good, too.
You make creative choices every day and probably don’t even realize it. Even putting your groceries away requires some degree of creativity. And if you have children, there is no doubt that you have relied on some sense of creativity in dealing with dinner, bedtime or any of the other plethora of issues that come up while raising a child.

It annoys me when I hear someone put themselves down because they don’t see themselves as a “creative” or an “artistic” person or that they couldn’t possibly do anything like draw a picture or take a photograph. Never second guess yourself. By doing so, you are denying some real potential. So you can only draw a stick figure? So what? There are entire art forms and comics devoted to the quirky stick figure. Even “bad” artwork is popular and endearing. You really have no excuses at this point.

Still having a hard time with this? Start by giving yourself homework assignments. Make yourself a goal of doing at least one creative act a day. It doesn’t have to be huge – you won’t need to apply for a grant or write an artist’s statement or even spend a lot of money on supplies. It can be as simple as adding a bit of style or a unique detail to your outfit. Or even rewording an email you’ve written to make it more “you”. Try something you’ve never attempted before, like oil painting or knitting. Think of something that makes you roll your eyes (like the Bedazzler) or something that seems impossible and try it! Try wood burning! Or maybe you have a screenplay floating around in your head. Try everything and see if anything sticks out. Involve other members of your family (or not)!

Denying yourself a creative outlet should be made illegal. Imagine if Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe or the lady who wrote all of those Twilight books denied themselves an artistic escape. We don’t necessarily need books about sparkling vampires or Campbell’s Soup Cans screenprints, but the world would be a lot less fun without them.

So put down your phone or the remote and try something today – you might just surprise yourself.