How to tune into your creative self
We are all creative but how do you get to meet your true creative self?
I know I say it all the time, but we are all creative. I don’t care if you tell me you can only draw stick men or you haven’t got a creative bone in your body, I know that you have a creative self hidden in there somewhere!
Each of us has something unique to bring to the world, it makes us feel fulfilled and purposeful, it gets us in a state of flow and helps us access joy. So how do you tune in to that creative soul deep down inside of you? Here are my thoughts on what may be holding you back from meeting your creative self.
Accept and truly believe you are creative
The first step is knowing, and I mean really knowing, you are a creative soul. So you might not be Van Gogh or Quentin Tarantino, but you are you and that’s even better.
To be creative means to imagine something and then to make decisions on how to bring that to life. That’s it, simple.
So, let’s start with something easy. Imagine what you might have for dinner tonight. Each step you take to make that real, from shopping, to cooking, to how you dress the table and how you eat it, are all a series of decisions that lead to creation. All you did was think ‘I fancy this to eat’ and ta-da! you create it from just your imagination.
Realise how simple and natural creation is. Sit with this for a while. Notice how much you create from the moment you wake to the time you drop off to sleep. You will be amazed by how creative your really are and how creativity is woven through the fabric of your life.
Be creative for the joy of it
Enter into creation with an innocent mindset instead of telling yourself there has to be a hard goal. ‘I will write this book in a way that a publisher will like’, or, ‘I will decorate my house so it increases its market value’.
By making creativity a by product of the end goal we strip it of joy. It becomes a means to an end rather than fun in and of itself. In fact, we take the fun out of it by making it serious and target-driven. As soon as we do this we stifle our own voice and, deep down, we know that won’t deliver our best work. So inside we are crying out ‘No, stop! Don’t create like this!’ but we don’t listen, instead we just experience this deep unease and lack of confidence in our creativity. Bring the joy back and just have fun.
We assume we’re not good enough before we even decide to be creative. Before we’ve given that solution in a business meeting or auditioned for that role, we’ve already told ourselves we’re not any good.
This comes from a variety of places. It comes from feelings of vulnerability, from feelings of shame, from a distorted sense of the world (everyone else is better/confident/happier/ insert your hang up here).
Let’s get this straight, these feelings do not well up from the same place as your creativity. Your creativity is deep within your true self. It is your unique gift to the world. Your critical voice pops up from your ego, the part of you that’s been conditioned to behave and think a certain way. Ego serves a great purpose but it must not be allowed to run riot in your head and heart like some school yard bully.
Let’s get this straight, these feelings do not well up from the same place as your creativity.
We assume there will always be more of time but that’s not guaranteed. Time is our most precious resource and yet we wait and waste and idle it away waiting for the time to be right. When is that exactly? When we learn more? When we have more time? When we feel more confident? When we are ready? Here’s a secret; we are never ready! Do you think that Michelangelo had glimmers of worry when he was asked to paint the Sistine chapel? You Bet! Did JK Rowling have doubts when she wrote the finale to the Harry Potter series? Sure! And what about all the bands who have had to overcome that second album fear?
All the creative work we see in the world is there because people overcame their fears and just did it. They knew there wouldn’t be a right time, they knew they had to go now.
Let’s face it, we’re not really waiting are we? We’re putting it off.
Have a go at everything and anything
Try it; what’s the worst that can happen? If you’re not comfortable singing a solo in church, try it in the shower, if you want to run and hide at the thought of reciting your poetry, read it to the dog first.
In our society we are told that you have to ‘stick at it’ that you need to ‘commit and never give up’, which is helpful sometimes, but it doesn’t apply to exploration. When you are trying to tune into your creative self it is just that - an exploration. It’s like an all you can eat buffet; we all try a dizzying mix of food on the same plate. And that’s OK!
So you might not enjoy everything, you might not be good at everything, but at least you gave yourself the opportunity. One of those opportunities will be the time when your creative self steps into the light.
You don’t have to be an expert to have a go, remember someone was the first person to try this for the first time…
So coax your creative self into the light by trying this:
Noticing how creative you already are and celebrating it
Having fun, be in a state of play and exploration
Going before you are ready (you are never ready)
Gifting yourself every opportunity to be creative
Leave or comment or reach out to me and let me know how you met your creative self!
Kelly Herrick is an artist & creativity coach who helps people access more freedom & joy. She is also the strategic lead in an international design agency, a painter and mum of two boys.