“The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.” ~Deepak Chopra
As a child you loved it—making something out of anything.
Whatever the medium, you were all over it and had a blast. Being creative came naturally to you.
But lately, you haven’t found the time and inspiration to engage in any new creative projects. Sure, you still want to do crafts, paint, write, practice photography, (insert yours here), but life gets in the way.
And when you find the time, inspiration leaves you hanging. No good ideas come to mind, which is frustrating because now you’ve just sat around wasting precious time.
You’ve read blog posts, articles, or books about finding time for your art and exercising your creative muscle. You got up early or stayed up late to have time for your project. You partnered with that artsy friend who always works on something new.
But none of it brought the surge of inspiration you hoped for. Now you’re starting to think you should postpone your creative endeavors until you’re less busy/older/financially stable…
I would know. Just two years ago, I was in the same place. I knew it would be fulfilling and exciting to reconnect with my passion for writing, but when I sat down, I had no ideas and the only thing that came to mind was that later would be a better time.
But wait! You can (and should) embrace creativity during every life season because it has many wonderful benefits you don’t want to miss out on.
And here’s why.
Creative Energy Wants to Be Used
Each of us has an innate creative energy waiting to be expressed. Kids do it all the time. When they play, make crafts, or tell stories, every movement oozes creativity.
But at some point in elementary school or high school, we start trading creative expression for fitting in and achieving academic results expected by our community.
Then, as we grow up, other priorities take over: college, work, starting a family… While trying to manage all that, creativity becomes a rare luxury for most of us, and we tell ourselves we’re fine with it.
Over time, we realize we’re not. We yearn to start a project, to do something apart from fulfilling our day-to-day chores and responsibilities. Yet it feels like the time isn’t right because there are seemingly more important things on the agenda.
Then we see people show off their latest project on social media and we wonder if we’ll ever have the time and opportunity to do something like that. Often the answer is “probably not.” Chances are, this thought has crossed your mind and made you feel like you’re missing out.
I remember this nagging feeling so well. Before finally taking up writing and drawing again, it hit me every time I saw a Facebook event for an art workshop or even while I was reading my favorite bloggers’ posts. “I wish I could be doing this too” was always at the front of my mind.
There’s something good about that though: This feeling is a sign your creative energy wants to be manifested!
Negative Consequences of Ignoring Your Creativity
Not using your creativity can have some real, negative impacts on your life, relationships, and even health.
The reasons behind this are simple.
By not expressing your creativity, you hide a part of your true self. Over time this can make you upset, bitter, and even judgmental of people you see doing the very thing you long for.
Ever judged that friend who made time for an art class when you really wanted to? Or criticized someone for work you wanted to be doing too? I know I have. Many times.
It’s not a surprise that this resentment negatively impacts your relationships and overall state of mind and, therefore, your whole life.
On the flipside, if you regularly take time to work on a project that challenges your brain in unfamiliar ways, you’ll likely see beautiful changes in many areas of your life.
Being creative gives you the chance to embrace your inner self like nothing else. By experiencing that, you open yourself up to joy and a sense of purpose that will spill over into your relationships and family life and transform your mindset to one of positivity and empowerment.
Your Brain Needs a Chance to Play
In an age of endless workdays and constant stress, we need a chance to unwind.
Think of elementary school kids. The first thing they do when classes are over is run out the door in complete abandon. Your brain wants to do the same after a long day.
And while watching TV or scrolling through social media might sound calming, it doesn’t relax your brain. The quickly moving images and the blue-light screens can reduce the quality of rest you’re getting and even make it hard to fall asleep.
If you’re looking for an activity that will both help you chill out and stimulate your brain in a fun, entertaining way, a creative project is the way to go.
By making art instead of consuming entertainment passively from the couch or running around hectically from dawn till dusk, you give your mind the chance to play and recharge.
Which form your “playtime” takes doesn’t matter. You can practice an instrument, try new dance moves, paint, write, or use a coloring book. It’s completely up to you. But, and that’s the key, you need to be creating.
For me, sometimes that means outlining a new blog post that spontaneously came to mind or doodling something in my planner. On days when my brain is particularly tired, I get creative with recipes because that challenges my mind in a way unlike any of my work.
See? It doesn’t have to be fancy or extravagant. After all, it hardly gets more basic than doodling in your journal.
The Reward of Getting Through the Initial Pushback
Don’t be surprised though. In the beginning, you will likely encounter some resistance, as your mind will try to wander to your endless to-do list or a stressful situation you faced at the office earlier that day.
Your mind may also come up with excuses to protect you from disappointment, embarrassment, or other negative consequences. At the heart of every excuse will be a fear-based lie. Your job is to identify and challenge those lies—for example, to remind yourself that no one starts as an expert, and that you don’t need endless time or expensive equipment to be creative.
Once your brain is used to the idea of playtime, it will quickly get better at embracing it. This shift will help you get more even from short time periods dedicated to your craft.
Don’t have an hour to set apart every day? That’s fine. While it would be great if you could find time regularly, that simply isn’t possible for everyone.
But don’t worry. Even if you can only carve out an hour once a week, that’s already a great start. And once you do, you’ll be surprised at how many occasions you’ll find to sneak in some extra creative time.
As soon as I learned to resist the call of unfolded laundry and late-night emails, all kinds of time was suddenly available for creative projects. Now, the clothes still get folded and messages get answered on time, but priorities have changed slightly.
Creativity Makes Growth Fun and Easy
The first things you might think of when you hear the word “creativity” are painting, writing, or making crafts. But creativity has a myriad of other facets.
That’s awesome because even if you’re not gifted at sketching or poetry, there are countless other ways to express yourself. You just need to find what you enjoy most. And the only way to do that is to try a variety of things.
This approach reflects the essence of creativity. Why? Because trial and error are a vital part of the creative process.
Think about it: Every painter goes back several times to change parts of their work. Every writer edits, cuts, and rearranges their texts. Every choreographer tries different combinations of moves before deciding on the final sequence.
Similarly, you’ll probably have to try different things before you find one you’re willing to give up your TV and social media time for. And while this search might seem like a task, it’s a wonderful first step on your creative journey.
This is when you try a photography workshop, a tap class, or a cooking course for the first time. And who knows, you might be surprised by which activity you like best and which one you’ll skip in the future.
I was expecting I’d love watercolors, for example. And while I really enjoyed doing for a day at a workshop, the satisfaction of carving an image into a block of linoleum to make a print was way more fun for me. That was unexpected, but now I know which activity I want to focus on more.
Build Skills Without the Pressure
Once you’ve found it, the next stage begins: you learn and improve your craft. Since this is not your job, you’re free from pressure to build skills quickly. You can take your time, experiment, and even change your mind completely without any life-altering repercussions.
The point is, every time you challenge yourself to do something new, you grow and become more confident because venturing out and trying a new activity opens you up to cool experiences and broadens your horizon.
Even if you come out of a hand lettering workshop and aren’t much better at it, you’ll feel immense satisfaction for having done it and having given yourself the chance to grow all while having a good time.
Being Creative Comes Naturally to Us
If you haven’t worked on a creative project in a while (or ever), this might come as a surprise to you. Thinking of starting something new will feel daunting especially if inspiration is lacking.
I remember being terrified of writing anything, let alone something that would be published. After all, that meant other (real) people would read it and likely have an opinion about it!
But think about it. Mankind has had to be creative to survive in this world since the very first days of existence. Sure, that creativity didn’t involve watercolors or graphic design but rather finding ways to thrive in changing surroundings and developing new tools to make that easier. Nonetheless, it’s still a form of creativity.
Today, many of us have the privilege of living in a place where we can focus our creative energy on enjoyable things like drawing, crafts, or writing. Too often we don’t though.
After losing touch with our creativity sometime during childhood or adolescence, we feel it’s reserved for a select few who are “gifted” or “talented,” not the average you and me. That’s probably one of the most common misconceptions about creativity out there today.
Good thing it’s easier to remedy than you might think.
Training Your Creative Muscle
Since we all have the gift of imagination and can learn to tap into it by practicing regularly, the hardest part is getting started. Once you take that first step and get over some inevitable bumps, your mind will open and develop in a wonderful new way.
Not only will it become easier to start (and finish) projects, many new ideas will come your way too. And suddenly your long-lost friend inspiration will be a regular companion again.
You’ll also become more adventurous to try things in other areas of life. A new recipe? A new family activity? Maybe even an innovative idea for solving a long-standing problem at your job?
The best thing is, you don’t even need to be original at the beginning. If it remains a hobby, you can copy anything and everything out there at the beginning.
That might not seem super creative at first, but whether you’re reproducing a van Gogh or painting your own ideas, you’re still developing your skills. Once you get better, new ideas will come naturally, and you’ll be creating beautiful, original, and most importantly personal art.
The Time is Now
If you’re wondering whether this idea of getting creative is for you, think about how you will feel when you start (and finish!) your first project in a long time.
The sense of self-confidence, satisfaction, and accomplishment that will make your chest swell with pride when you look at your completed work and show it off to friends and family…
All because you stopped waiting for the “right time,” embraced your creativity, and just went for it.
Imagine not only finishing something you started long ago, but trying a new medium you’ve always been curious about and discovering a previously hidden talent!
Sound impossible? It’s not. Far from it.
Remember, excuses to not be creative are just lies your fear is telling you to keep you from venturing out into the unknown. Nothing more.
Your creativity and inspiration are only waiting to be expressed. Grab a pen, paintbrush, or whatever equipment you need and get started.
Because today is the best day to start sharing your creative gifts with the world around you.