One of my favorite things I own is a folder of some of my school work my parents saved over the years. Part of it includes an in-class journal from 2nd grade which must have always been the day after my horseback riding lessons. Pretty much every entry talks about the horse I rode and I love looking back at it every once in a while. It makes me thankful to have found something I’m passionate about at young age, and even more thankful that I’ve been purposeful in keeping that passion a part of my life. The folder overall, though, is helpful in reminding me that I am creative. It is evidence when I try to underplay my abilities. I really do think we are all creative but somehow start to doubt ourselves along the way.
I know I don’t have much room to consider myself a non-creative person now that I’ve written and illustrated a book, but I still have a hard time using that term to describe myself. Most of the art I do has to be modeled off of something familiar. I grew up ONLY drawing horses and tried to make them as exact as possible. So in that sense I didn’t ever feel like I was coming up with anything original. Even now with my stories I have to stick with rhyming or a set structure. If I don’t have that to go off of I can’t make it work (I have tried). It also makes sense why haikus are my poem of choice…they have a set pattern I can follow.
When I look at the art I made and the poems and stories I wrote when I was little I wonder where that confidence in my creative abilities went. I didn’t over-analyze it when I was little, or have a standard for myself. I just created. There’s a great TED Talk Ken Robinson gives about schools and creativity. He argues that everyone is creative but we start learning to look for the right answer. We become less willing to take risks because we are scared of being wrong. I think this makes sense, and am also going to add the idea that we start recognizing and internalizing judgment. As we get older we are more scared of what others will think of us.
If I were to try and convince everyone they are capable of being creative then I would define creativity as self-expression. Everyone has the ability to express themselves, but there is a lot of vulnerability in this and maybe that’s why we hesitate. I actually enjoy being able to use art to express myself. I’m not too good with saying things out loud, and like to always give people gifts that mean something. Usually that is in the form of some kind of art or writing. When people receive it they know I have spent time on it and put heart into it. When I look at the gifts I’ve kept from other people, a lot of them also have to do with some kind of creativity. I can see the person in the gift and that is why it is special.
I guess my challenge this week is for everyone is to take some time to create something. Take a chance. It doesn’t have to be perfect or a gift for someone else. Write something, make a doodle…anything you want. Have fun with it. If you are doubting your abilities you can take a page from by book and make birds out of circles. Anyone can do that 🙂
Create. Always move forward.