Everything that I’ve learned about creativity (so far) can be summed up that it does not come about by stroke of luck or genius, but rather that it is a skill – like so many others – that can be honed and finessed with time, patience, and, most importantly, discipline.
Creative pursuits require time. Creative pursuits require commitment. Creative pursuits require courage.
For so much of my life I thought I wasn’t creative. I assumed that I was merely an actuary of projects. My role was to plan for and anticipate a project’s trajectory and to help minimize the risk and maximize the output as much as possible.
Every time I tried my hand at creation, I failed. Or so I thought.
I never realized the discipline and courage it took to keep creating, even when the outcome wasn’t clear to me. Even when it was hard. Even when I wasn’t quite sure where it was headed.
I would take up new projects and abandon them with the first hint of disengagement. The moment my attention fluttered to something new, I would drop and run.
I’ve since learned, fortunately, that creativity is what is achieved when you reach just beyond the corner of self-doubt and confidence. Creativity is what is achieved when you stop wondering “is this really possible” and just get busy with the work.
Creativity is, in essence, a habit. A ritual. A form of expression built from sitting down, day after day, and creating.
What is also remarkable is that creativity is not finite. I remember trying to savour the words that I would produce, convinced – somehow – that I must save them rather than share them, for there would likely come a time in the not-so-distant future where the words would simply not arrive at my command and I would be forced to be expressionless.
I would write with passion and then hoard it all – truly afraid that in that moment of emptiness I would need to scrounge up words from the bottom of a barrel and make do with whatever I had produced in another state of mind.
I now know the opposite to be true. The more I write, the more that comes. For it is no longer solely about running on inspiration and fumes, but rather on the confidence that comes with practice. The practice of sitting down day after day and writing.
As simple as that.
So while you may feel that your creativity comes in spurts, or perhaps doesn’t even arrive at all, it is very likely you yourself that is blocking your own creativity from emerging into the open.
Imagine what could be possible if the stories you told yourself… the old ones, the ones that no longer feel empowering or exciting to tell but that you notice have a rather robotic, pre-recorded feel… could lean a bit further into who you could be if you’d only allow yourself to try. Replace the “I’m not good at…” with the commitment of daily practice and watch what emerges from the ash.
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