I was recently talking to a good friend when he stated very matter-of-factly, “I wish I was creative, but I just don’t have a single ounce of creativity in my whole body.” It really bothered me to hear him say that, and as I thought about it a bit more, I realized that a lot of people I know have made similar statements. After awhile, I understood why it bothered me so much – because it’s not true.
I strongly believe that every one of us is creative, and to prove the point I’m going to take us back to the beginning…the very beginning, as in Genesis, Chapter 1, Verse 1. Let’s focus on the first five words: “In the beginning, God created…” The first thing we learn about God is that He is creative– not just creative in the sense of painting pretty pictures, but creative in the sense of designing perfection and delicate balances of life. Shortly after in Verse 27, the Bible states, “So God created man in his own image…”
This is a huge statement. Have you ever really thought about what that means? For this conversation, the takeaway is this:
GOD IS CREATIVE = WE ARE CREATIVE
What exactly is Creativity? This is not a simple question to answer by saying creativity is A, B, and C. To truly understand what it is, we have to understand what it’s not.
CREATIVITY IS NOT APOLOGETIC. Here’s a great quote from a gentleman named Marty Neumeier: “Great ideas are never polite. They never say they’re sorry.” If we’re worried about what other people think or what they’re going to say, we’re building limits to our creativity before we even begin. We can’t be truly creative while trapped inside a box with a lid. Remove those limits, give all ideas generated a voice, and see where they take you.
CREATIVITY IS NOT SAFE. The status quo, typical, same-old approach is safe, but when has truly inspired creativity come from the status quo and doing the same thing over again? Creativity doesn’t always play by the rules. We need to understand this and be willing to take a risk. Set aside your fear and step up to be creatively rebellious. This is the path to new ideas.
CREATIVITY IS NOT EASY. It takes a lot of effort and at times several failures to resolve a creative task. Have you seen the scenes in a movie when a writer keeps ripping the page off his notepad and tossing it into the trash? Eventually, the trashcan is overflowing and there is crumpled-up sheets of paper all over the floor. That, at times, is a good picture of the Creative Process. Do not be discouraged, and keep charging ahead with new ideas. Eventually, one will surface that will move things forward.
CREATIVITY IS NOT FOR A SELECT FEW. I believe everyone is born creative. When a child learns to form sentences, the child is being creative. Have you ever met a child that didn’t like to color? Yes, some don’t color within the lines, but I doubt Jackson Pollack or Picasso did either. Think of creativity as a muscle. Every single human on the planet has muscles – some more than others. Why? They exercise their muscles and develop them. Creativity is the same way. The more we exercise our creative muscles, the more creative we can become, but keep in mind there will always be others that are “stronger” than you are.
CREATIVITY LOOKS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE. I think we tend to believe we’re not creative if we can’t paint a masterpiece, draw a building, sketch a portrait, or write a song. Yes, those things require creativity, but those aren’t the only creative avenues. I can’t tell you what your creativity looks like, but I’m pretty sure all of you reading this can write down an idea that popped into your head. At its most basic, creativity is giving an idea a voice. Writing something down to remember later on is a creative act.
If you bought into the lie that you have no creativity whatsoever and you’re creativity is “out of shape,” the following are some steps you can take to start developing those muscles again. You can start by hanging out with people you find to be creative. Talk with them; pick their brain. Read more. Write more. Carry a sketchbook and draw. It doesn’t matter if you’re drawing stick people. Drawing helps us to see the details that are all around us and will help you to intentionally start to view the world differently. Be sure to notice the green of a mallard’s head. Start seeing the rabbit-shaped clouds again. Hear the ballads of the birds outside your window in the morning. This is how it begins, and it won’t be long until you find creativity’s fuel.
Once found, there’s no wrong answer on how you use it. Just know that God put it there for a reason, and take action. That action of giving your idea/inspiration a voice is one avenue of your creativity. Own it.