“I’m not creative”

Maybe you have thought that too.  I sure have, many times!

It doesn’t have to be like this.  You are creative as only you can be, and you do this in many, many ways.  For me, it took a long time to understand this, but I did…

Creativity saved my life.

That sounds a little extreme, but it isn’t, perhaps you know the feeling? It gave me hope and direction where I had none. It helped me find something to focus my energy on and learn new ways to express myself and what matters to me. And in doing this I brought my resources, my energy, passion and determination to learn and grow, creatively.

When I was young, I had a set of wooden blocks, colored in red, green, blue and yellow. I would build giant, symmetrical towers over and over until they toppled. I loved learning which arrangements gave the most stable towers. And every year I would ask for the same thing at Christmas, a big box of crayons. I loved the colors and I loved drawing with them. I drew a lot and even won an art contest in 3rd grade! It was so exciting!

I loved art class too. I never had any particular goal to be the best, I just liked creating, and at home I did plenty of craft projects with my mother, making dolls and other little stitching projects. In college, I learned to sew, tried beading and squished around with polymer clay. In the kitchen, I cooked up delicious meals for my 30 housemates.

I loved to make stuff.

It was a part of my everyday life, but I didn’t consider myself creative, nor did anyone around me apparently because I never heard that in relation to me.  Another sibling was the “artist” in the family. I didn’t know what I was.

I’m not creative

A few years after college, I found myself pursuing a doctorate in organic chemistry. I did great in the classes, but after that, I was lost. I watched my classmates getting ideas and little successes and forward steps into developing their own little research projects. I floundered uncertain what I was doing. I called my mom one day and told her, I’m just not creative. I don’t know what I am doing. Everyone is moving ahead but me. My mother scoffed at me, and said of course you are, but I didn’t listen. I had decided I wasn’t creative and that’s the story I kept in my head!  It wasn’t much longer and I dropped out to go to a lab job.

Down the line about ten years, I still hadn’t given much thought to creativity, I still thought it was for other people, not me. I still did my crafts and cooking and taking some courses, but none of it counted. I never even considered the value of creativity in day to day living – creativity was for artists.

Starting my creative buisness

At that time, I was living in Sweden, feeling out of place, no direction or focus. I hated the dark winters and rain and the people seemed so cold and distant. I tried again to have a lab job, but it didn’t suit me. I didn’t know what to do. I needed something. Finally things clicked in my brain, and I looked around and decided to give making my own needlework designs a try. In the beginning I gave them away. They were fairly simple, but people loved them! It was great, and it fired up my imagination. Maybe there was more I could do!

So I kept at it, and kept at it. Eventually I tried selling some of my design, and people actually bought them! It was so exciting. That gave me more energy to keep at it I made new designs with greater complexity and the more I made, the more I improved. Little by little, I built a little business of selling my designs.

Along the way, I learned an incredible amount about what creativity is, myself, my craft, and running a business. Motivation, inspiration and building a following came easy. I was doing something I loved and was having a ball learning!

Creativity is much more…

This wasn’t my only creative expression. Around the same time I started my business, I also learned programming too. I built a series of stores, the final one from scratch. It was amazing to be able to have an idea and put it into reality – to tell the computer what to do and then others could make use of what I had made. I hadn’t ever had such an experience before, and I went on to make other sites, and even some android apps with my own ideas.

What making programs taught me in a powerful, direct way was that creativity is for everyone! It was eye-opening. My world expanded and transformed. Creative expression is boundless and needed for every thing we do. Not just in art, but in our whole lives, our jobs, our relationships, everything! All of it needs us to bring our ourselves, your best most “you” self that you possibly can.

We need to dig deep into our resources: knowledge and skills, but also our joy, passion, energy, curiosity and sense of discovery and wonder. Every bit of it is needed to solve both little problems and the most complex.

Now I view every thing I do in life through a creative filter. There is always a new way to do something that bring variety and excitement and interest into my life.  There is hardly a moment that goes by that I’m not brainstorming how I can do this or that better and how I can bring fun, joy, adventure, and maybe some friends along with me.

You can too!  Be you, bring your unique expression to the world and share it and watch your creativity grow!!

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