This month’s quote is not by a photographer but by a writer. Oddly enough I never read anything by Maya Angelou but this quote has always had a special place in my heart. Because it’s so profoundly true.
“You Can’t Use Up Creativity.
The More You Use, The More You Have.”
The other day I was teaching a photography workshop with a deep focus on creativity. We talked about our relationship with creativity, memories and emotions around being creative, assumptions and misconceptions and creativity scars.
Turns out we all have them. And yes, all of the above.
Assumptions and Misconceptions
One of the interesting things that surfaced was the assumption that being creative is related to being an artist. Or rather the insight that it’s actually not. Creativity can show up in many areas of your life. You can be very creative and never touch a paintbrush or sing a note.
The assumption that creativity is only for the artists among us is a misconception.
Creativity is innate to us all. It’s a gift we all received when we took our first breath.
The sad thing is that nurturing creativity is not very high on the priority lists of the people who design our education systems. In most school programs, it’s all the way at the bottom of the agenda.
Sir Ken Robinson has given an inspiring TedTalk on the subject titled ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ It’s one of the most popular TedTalks ever. Apparently, it’s a subject close to all our hearts!
If you’ve never watched it or wanna watch it again go here: Do Schools Kill Creativity?
The education in creativity we do get is always in relation to being artistic. From a young age, the link between creativity and art is made. We‘re being taught how to draw or how to sing. With specific requirements on which we’re being graded.
When you draw a house it should look like a house. And when you sing you need to get the notes rights. What started as something fun, free and playful when we where kids turned into ‘I’m not good enough when my house doesn’t look like a house.’
Brené Brown, the awesome researcher on human emotions like shame and vulnerability, calls them creativity scars. And we all have them.
For every teacher that nurtured our creative expressions, there’s one that stifled them. And sometimes the smothering leaves a scar that’s too deep to be healed by the positive guidance we’ve received.
That’s the moment you lose confidence in your creative abilities and you’re telling yourself: “Let’s not go there anymore because I’m just not a creative person.”
The Creativity Muscle
Here’s the good news! Creativity is like a muscle. You can train yourself to regain your creative strength and confidence.
It’s easier than you think. You can open yourself up to your own creative soul and expand it beyond your imagination. Because, yes, the more you use, the more you have. Once you start to nurture your creativity it will keep on growing because you have an infinite supply inside you. Creativity is a lot like love. You’ll never run out of it.
Belief You Are
Do you wonder how to take care of your creative growth? Here’s how you can start!
First of all, you make it a priority in your life. You start by questioning and challenging the assumptions you have about yourself as a creative human.
Embrace the belief you’re a creative person. When you’re breathing, you’re creative. It really is that simple.
Fill The Well
Secondly, like any muscle your creativity needs nourishment. Creativity cannot flourish in a vacuum. You will need to fill the well. What that looks like is different for everybody. Go on a quest for the things that make your heart sing and light a fire in your soul.
You can take long walks, stroll through a vintage market, go to a museum, take drawing classes, go to a movie, write, learn to play the guitar, howl like a wolf, go to a dance performance, read, jump in rain puddles, stare over the ocean, have nightly conversations about life, build sand castles, take acting classes, have a pillow fight or hey, there’s a thought, pick up a camera and capture the beauty in your life!
Because you see it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you feel it expands you. Keeping an open mind and staying curious will help you in discovering the things that fill up your well.
If you would like someone to cheer you on check out my one-on-one mentoring options. It’s the sure fire way to get your photo mojo back.
Shush Your Inner Critic
And finally, learn to trust your creative instinct and gain the confidence to follow your genius impulses. Don’t be afraid to go beyond the borders of your comfort zone. If an idea pops up in your head, explore it. Start by validating it instead of second-guessing it. Let the ideas enter your mind free of judgment.
Shush your inner critic, that little voice in your head that tells you: “I’ll never be able to do that; I’m sure I won’t like that; Oh no, that’s not for me; Jeez, I tried that once before and it didn’t turn out so well; I’m too old to try that; What will people think; I’m too young to do that; I’ll never be good enough; What if I fail……………”
Don’t listen to her and be kind to her at the same time. She only wants to protect you from criticism, hurt and failure. That’s her job. It’s your job to say ‘Thank you for letting me know but I think it’s worth exploring because I want to stretch myself.’
The More You Use, The More You Have.
Maybe you think you’ve lost your creativity along the way, or you’re convinced you never had it to begin with. Know this, it’s not true. It might be buried so deep inside you-you think it’s out of reach but let me tell you it’s there waiting for you to grasp it.
When you reach out it will open up.
After you’ve unearthed it, it sustains itself like a stone rolling down a perpetual mountain.
Once you trust it you won’t be able to stop it from pouring out of you.
Because the more you use, the more you have. That’s what it means.