Creation matters, even if you’re not “creative.”
When I was about nine I was given a notebook. Nothing fancy, just a boring ole spiral notebook, the kind your mom picks up at Walmart for $.89. I think it was light blue.
I remember getting that notebook and feeling like I had just been given a passport to possibility. I could fill that thing with whatever I wanted. As a sensitive and nerdy little girl who was so lost in her own mind, naturally I decided I would fill it with poetry–profound and meaningful poetry. Because that what nine year old girls are capable of, right?
Boy, did I fill that thing. I poured my little heart and soul into the notebook and filled page after page with poems that I thought were amazing, but were probably just like every other child’s work: cute, maybe a little clever, but rudimentary and clearly the work of someone only starting to put words together.
Man, I wish I still had that notebook.
I bet you’ve had a moment like that. Maybe not a notebook that you filled with poetry, but a moment where you created just because. You painted for the sheer pleasure of painting, or made playdough sculptures, or Lego castles–just because you wanted to. Because it was fun. Because that’s what we do as humans.
We are Creative Beings
Before you go and tell yourself, “I’m just not creative,” I’m going to stop you right there. Yes, you are. That is who we are as humans. We are creative beings. No, our creativity doesn’t necessarily look like what we think of as traditionally creativity: writing, painting, drawing, designing, etc. But creativity takes all shapes and forms and ways of thinking. Whether your crocheting a hat or creating code, anything you put you hand to that is producing an outcome that wasn’t there before is creation.
That means that spreadsheets, business plans, websites, budgets, lines of code, even mathematical theorems are, yes, forms of creativity.
Because that’s who we are. We are creators. But for many of us, something was lost when we grew up.
Think back to when you were a child. What did you enjoy doing? I’d be willing to bet it was some for of creation, whether building forts, playing with blocks, writing comics, or playing music. Maybe you kept a list of basketball statistics or tinkered around with old radios or electronics. Maybe you painted or danced or baked cookies. Whatever it was, remember why you did it?
Because it was FUN!
It was a time where our creation was play, and we could spend hours at it. We played before judgement made us value something as good or bad, before we realized that it mattered.
Then, one day, it did. And we started to put value on creation. We judged our work against others’ and started to see where we fell short.
When did we lose the fun of creation?
Suddenly, you were either a “creative” or you weren’t. You either pursued some form of tradition art as a passion or career and you stopped spending time playing at the things that once brought you joy. And if that creative endeavor you loved wasn’t good enough to sell on Etsy, why bother doing it?
Not everything has to be attached to a dollar. Sometimes the value in doing the thing, comes simply from doing the thing. The joy it brings you. That peace it gives you. The ability to know yourself just a little bit more than you did before.
Create Something Everyday Even if it Sucks
I wish I could take credit for that little sentence, but I can’t (cred: Jenna Rainy). Forget about monetary value and OPO (other people’s opinions). Forget about your own personal standard that no doubt is impossible to hit. Go back to what made creating fun. I don’t care what it is: painting, writing, building, crafting, playing an instrument, coding, etc.–I DON’T CARE. Create something, not for the approval of others or the bragging rights, not to sell on Etsy or post on Instagram. You don’t even have to show anyone. Just create something because it’s fun. Even if it sucks.
Not everyone will like your creation, and that’s ok. You don’t even have to show anyone, and if it sucks, you might not want to, but that’s not the point. The point is to practice creativity. To get better at a skill or passion you once loved or try something new. To tap into that long forgotten child who loved to play just to play.
And if it sucks, that’s ok. Because tomorrow’s version will be just a little be better.