Within each of us lie seeds of creativity. We plant them as children, diligently feeding them with imagination and allowing them the time and space to grow. For some people, the fruits of these seeds continue to flourish throughout life. For others, they wither and die long before the roots get a chance to truly take hold, remaining neglected and forgotten. This was the case for me. For years and years I told myself that my creativity was long gone, and at times even grieved for this intangible thing which had been so dear to me as a child.
This spring however, I watched dumbfounded as creativity blossomed once again, seemingly from nowhere. It began with this website – a hugely rewarding and exciting creative process - but keeps growing day by day, much to my complete astonishment. What I have realised through witnessing this resurrection, is that my creativity died because I stopped feeding it. Luckily, seeds of creativity are everlasting. Once you start feeding them again, morsels of inspiration begin to appear everywhere.
This experience led me to one glaring question – why? Why do so many of us stop nurturing our creativity? Children create endlessly. They engage with their imagination in a tireless and enthusiastic way unthinkable to most adults. They appear to have nothing stopping them; no fear of criticism, no doubts about the outcome. How many of you don’t draw or write or dance or play music because you think you can’t? Did you actually give it a go? I know I haven’t. I have suppressed countless creative impulses in the name of fear. So many of us don’t try, we don’t dedicate the time, we don’t push ourselves to do the things that in the back of our minds we know we want to do.
What is it we are afraid of anyway? Rejection? Inadequacy? Ridicule? Imagine a world where people convinced themselves of such hypothetical outcomes, scaring away creativity before even giving it a chance… there would be no great works of art or architecture, no music, dance or theatre, no fiction, no fashion, no philosophy. It doesn’t even bear thinking about. Yes, being creative can be scary, but this fear is in part owed to deluded and pervasive ideas of perfection. Perfectionism is not a virtue, especially when it comes to creativity. It is a restrictive fantasy and will forever hold you back if you let it.
If, like me, you have allowed such fears to manifest in telling yourself and others that you are not a creative person, I urge you to reconsider. Once you open yourself to creativity, ideas will come flooding in, displacing fear with excitement, passion and joy. I was truly terrified to publish my first blog post. And yet in finding the courage to do so, I realised that nobody needs someone else’s blessing in order to create. Regardless, for every person who thinks I am writing clichéd drivel, there will be another person who resonates with it, or it perhaps even has some impact on their day. I now can’t stop scribbling ideas and notes on scrap bits of paper here, there and everywhere like some mad professor. Incoherent babblings which I take great pleasure in weaving together and editing into prose.
This is surely the ultimate point. Creativity exists to be enjoyed. Not only by audiences, but by each one of us an individual. Unless you are using your creativity as a sole source of income, the outcome of it is truly of no significance whatsoever. It is the process that matters. It is an absolute plain and simple fact that some people will love what you create and some people will hate it. Some people will be passionate about it and others will be indifferent. Most people will never even encounter it. Differing opinions are what make life interesting. Think how dull it would be if we all agreed on everything!
If any of these words have engaged you on a personal level, I encourage you to honour and feed your innate seeds of creativity, allowing them the time and space to grow. Indulge your childlike curiosities. Explore more of what interests you. Let go of fear. Remind yourself of how lucky you are to have the freedom to create; it is a privilege sadly not afforded to all. If you have even the smallest of voices whispering somewhere inside you to pick up your paintbrush or pen, try that pottery class, dust off an old instrument or enquire about a singing lesson, GO FOR IT.
What’s the worst that could happen?