For many years, I didn’t think I was creative.
In grade school I loved writing stories, it was my favorite way to to express myself in an otherwise noisy world. Until one day - which I’ll never forget.
My fourth grade teacher read a story I’d written and announced to the class that I wasn’t a talented writer and my story was terrible. She surmised I had no future in writing. Humiliated, devastated and incredibly naive, I believed her. I hung up my pencils and took an early retirement from this short-lived hobby. After all, I’d just had a major brush with… FAILURE.
Sound familiar? Unfortunately my story is not all that uncommon. Many of us quietly hung up our pencils, hushed our voices, or retired our paint brushes at a young age. All because of harsh criticism from our peers or elders. At the age of 11, I hadn’t experienced much failure. And likely, neither had you.
So we stopped being creative. Perhaps not to start again for a very long time. If ever.
In 2015, following a major career disruption, I had a story to share. I wanted to help others learn from my experiences in the corporate world. But how? My business coach at the time suggested that I write a blog. And that’s when my inner voice kicked into full gear, oh, no no no… you know you can’t write!
And then, I gave it a try.
I was so nervous to click “Publish” on my first post, feeling exposed, so raw. As I kept writing, hitting the Publish button became easier. I liked sharing stories and more importantly it felt really good to write again. I wrote more blog posts, copy for my website, social media content. After many ups and downs I had finally reunited with my creative outlet, putting the 4th grade teacher’s voice to rest.
So what does all this mean for you? You may be asking yourself, am I really creative? Can I resurrect my lost creativity? There’s good news. YES!
Each of us is creative, whether we believe it or not. Creativity is part of human nature. It’s the experiences we have early in life that shut our creativity down. So ask yourself, where do you feel most creative? If you’re unsure, think about what you loved to do as a child. If you're still unsure, start by exploring things that make you curious.
Thinking about your creativity may conjure up major feelings of self-doubt and insecurity. Stay on the path. Chances are you’re getting close to finding your creativity, it’s just been shut down for a long time. Dust it off, and start experimenting. You are creative.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic really helped me through this process. I’ll share with you my favorite quote:
Now, go make your art.
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