5 years ago, I would never have described myself as creative. Organized, yes. Friendly, yes. Driven, sometimes. But creative, never. I’ve always admired creativity, as most “non-creatives” do. I was fascinated by the artistic work of others, but I knew my place was as the observer. In college, I dabbled in interior design & event planning but decided to pursue a more practical, predictable route. Because unless you’ve defined yourself as an “artist” is there really a career for you in the creative world? I certainly didn’t think so.
It wasn’t until my second “corporate” job that I began recognizing my creative instincts. After months of weekly trips to the craft store, secretly writing blog posts at my desk & an increased interest in brands like Darling Magazine, I finally realized that I was creative. And had been my whole life, it just hadn’t fit the mold of the “typical” creative I’d built up in my mind.
Maybe you have a similar story, maybe you’ve been an artist your whole life or maybe you’re nowhere near ready to label yourself a creative. But the fact is, whether you’ve discovered it or not, you ARE creative. And once you realize it, your world will change. You’ll be able to contribute to society in the way you were made for.
In an effort to help you speed up the discovery process, here are 7 steps to cultivating creativity when you’re “not creative”.
Recognize things you already enjoy doing
When I look back on my journey, my biggest regret is not giving more significance to the little things I loved doing. I can name hundreds of moments of creativity over the years that I thought nothing of. Be intentional about recognizing the things you do in your free time and the small life-giving moments in your life. What are you doing? How do you feel when you’re doing them? What do you think about during the day and how could you cultivate this excitement into something tangible and regular?
One of the biggest misconception among creatives is that great work can only come when “inspiration strikes”. But in reality, inspiration is also something that can be cultivated. For me, this isn’t something that comes naturally. I have to intentionally put effort & time into seeking out inspiration and discovering what inspires me. Inspiration will look different for everyone. It’s about making the space in your life to find out what that looks like for you. For me, it’s seeing new places & gaining new perspective. I’m also inspired by print & packaging design. I could flip through beautiful books for hours and come away inspired to create. I’ve also recently started listening to podcasts and the stories of others, which has been hugely inspiring in my creative journey.
What resources do you already have?
If you are just getting started on your creative journey, it can be daunting to think about all the resources you don’t have. Your new creative habits may not be something you’re ready to financially invest in. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is to utilize resources that you already have. Think outside of the box. Want to take better pictures for your Instagram but you don’t have a clean white wall to pose against? Hang up a white sheet. Don’t have the finances to take a class on how to use Photoshop. Hop on Google, read a blog post, watch a YouTube tutorial, sign up for someone’s free course. We live in a world FULL of free information and free resources. You don’t need the nicest, fanciest tools at the beginning of your creative journey. Learn how to work with what you already have.
Invest in your skills
Once you’ve pinpointed the creative direction you want to cultivate, put a little money aside to invest in your skills. Maybe there is software you need that would take you to the next level. Or maybe you want to turn your creative passion into a business and you need a session with a business coach to get you over the hump. Use discernment and choose a few things that will help you move farther faster in your creative skills.
Remember, it takes time
The truth of the matter is, cultivating creativity takes time. A lot of time. If your first attempt at creating something lands far from what you had hoped, don’t be discouraged. Even the most talented of artists still feel like they haven’t achieved the level of skill they want. Just like everything else in life, practice makes perfect. Obviously, if you’ve never done something before you are going to be bad at it. Give yourself the time and grace to practice and persevere. Creatives are some of the hardest working people I know. They are ONLY as good as they are because they’ve invested much of their life practicing. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not a creative genius the first or second or third time you try something.
Share your work
I know, I know, I know – this step probably makes you want to die. I’ve been there, I get it. And no, you don’t need to post the very first, embarrassing thing you create. But after you start to get the hang of your creative process and are busting out things you’re proud of – share that ish with the world! If you never share your work with the public, no one will ever know it exists. I was TERRIFIED to post my first piece of personal work on my Instagram. What if I actually wasn’t that talented? What would people think of me? But by being courageous and sharing my work, I’ve developed an entire business that allows me to do what I love and collaborate with other artists and creatives in my industry.
Ultimately, creativity is in you. And whether your dream is to sell your work or just use creativity as a way to decompress at the end of your day, YOU CAN DO IT.
What’s your biggest hurdle when it comes to cultivating creativity in your life?