Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a dream to be an artist, a writer, a designer, a creator of wonders but something has stopped me.
Right now we’re sitting down at our computers to have a quiz at the elephant journal in between:
• creating an everything free meal
• saying really profound things in meetings like,
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
• meditating while doing the tree pose while washing the dishes
• arguing with anyone about whose turn it is to vacuum
• distracting ourselves with some good, quality, reality television featuring twelve women fighting for one man who would kiss himself on live TV if he had the chance.
Truth be told, amongst all of this busy stuff is a sunken feeling, a deflation because there’s a part of us, in the back corner, hiding underneath some well placed ferns that wants to express beauty and truth, to create amazingness. Deep inside we know, if we only had a chance, that we could get our creative juices going, but we just don’t seem to be able to do it. Sound familiar?
How do we get our creativity back, baby?
Here are some steps from a chick who has watched a lot of reality TV, attempted meditation a billion times and knows it’s always the other person’s turn to vacuum.
Step 1. Getting a handle on “deflation” and understanding where we are right now.
Let’s look at deflation—the sunken state that’s covered up by a whole lot of busy.
I’m going to put on my nerd cap right now, cos that’s how I roll, and say that, in economic terms, deflation is when there is a decrease in the general price level and is often associated with periods of negative or stagnant growth.
Before dismissing this as a really absurd tangent (and wondering just how much shiraz/happy herbs/hot yoga I’ve tapped into while writing this) consider the idea of deflation, when applied to getting our creativity back because, let’s face it, we all want our creativity back, big time.
Deflation occurs because there’s a decrease in the general price level.
When applied to us, as vulnerable beings, we become deflated because we find it difficult to value our expression, our art, our creativity.
If we were to put a price tag on our creativity, a lot of us would discount the crap out of our creative expressions. We’d use yellow stickers, yes, yellow ones, and we’d plaster them all over our work because we think people are not going to want to buy into our stuff.
Because we’ve been taught that creative pursuits are very competitive and only the best make it.
We’ve been taught that it’s either black or white, we either have something extraordinary or we are donkey dung. And, even worse, we have been taught that there’s a whole world full of things of more value, such as, really cool toasters, a bed that doesn’t disturb your partner when you have nightmares about your best mate nude, a super safe job and a phone that is possibly the best friend anyone could have.
So, in short, and said really loudly, we don’t value just how nuanced and amazing our artistic expression is because we are intimated by the world, and we have listened to the world, and we are bloody deflated.
Well, the good news, and yes, there’s some super awesome news, is that our creativity is right now, not some time in the future or some time in the past. We have the capacity for crystallizing the universe into sweeps of a paintbrush or four words or a house that moulds with the sky.
Our creativity is relevant, it’s real and it’s here. Recognizing that we are incredible creators right now is very important.
Now, to removing the yellow stickers.
Step 2. Give the world the finger and recognize that there is only one (with added bonus of discount sticker removal).
The next thing to do to get our creativity back, baby, is to simply acknowledge nicely that the world has been one of those friends that pretends to be supportive and then tells other people behind our backs that we smell or have really bad taste in wallpaper.
And then, when we are ready, it’s time to give the world the finger (80s movie style) and drive off in a cloud of dust. Preferably if we could play Footloose or “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” on our transistor radios it would be even more powerful.
Ok. So, that’s done. No need to hang out with the world. The world is so last season. Nobody puts baby in a corner.
I’m going to tell you something that you may already know:
There’s only one of you. Yep. Simple stuff but very relevant. No-one else is like you. DNA is such a complicated business and you are the outcome of some seriously intricate nucleotides.
The next piece of relevant news is that your expression is as amazing as your DNA. Martha Graham had it right when she said:
“Because there is only one of you, in all of time, this expression is unique. And, if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it.”
After really absorbing this, and I mean really absorbing it, let’s think about how much our artistic expression is worth, considering how very unique it is. You are the chosen one, the only one that was born to do what you can do—you are the one that can blow up the death star, that can throw the ring into the fires of Mordor—you.
Yep. That’s right, I am a fantasy/science fiction nerd and we are all unique. It’s our responsibility to create and to express because it’s going to be new and different and uniquely us. If we do not do this, the world will not have our expression. It will be lost for all time.
That’s it. End of story.
Well not the end of this story but the end of your story, yes.
I bet there’s a voice in the very corners of your psyche. It’s the blocking voice. It says:
“But what if I’m not good enough and people will think that I’m a silly billy?”
Step 3. Introducing the fierce warrior approach to getting our creative back.
So we’ve got a handle on where we are, we’ve given the world the finger, we realise that we are fricking unique and we sit down at our creative tool of choice and look out the window, check the phone (cos it’s the best friend anyone could ever have—much better than the world), we try a sweep of the paintbrush or a word or whatever else and good old deflation kicks back in.
Right. Here’s the hard word on getting our creativity back. We are going to have to fight for it. You, dear reader, are going to have to grit your teeth and bare your chest (in private or public—whatever works for you), lock the door if the world tries to enter and learn and apply and discipline yourself to create.
Become a fierce warrior for your craft, for your spirit for the incredible quality of your expression.
The reality is that, in most cases, being creative is awesome but honouring and honing creativity also requires time, training and hard work—fierce warrior stuff. As Ernest Hemingway said:
“The first draft of anything is sh*t.”
Telling ourselves that we are cool with this helps heaps, as it allows us to keep going through all the iterations required to produce beauty and truth. Working on our craft is challenging, given all the reasons we’ve talked about, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.
Try future thinking during our creative times and see our art in the places and with the people that we believe it needs to touch. It’s going to be relevant to them. And, if we don’t block it, it may even change lives. The music of KISS changed my life. I listened to it too loudly and was grounded. I bet you KISS didn’t expect their music would ground so many kids. Their art changed lives for sure.
Creativity is one of the most powerful mechanisms for change and we’ve got that tool in our hot little hands.
The fierce warrior also doesn’t give a rats about what the camp on the other side of the hill is thinking.
The warrior knows her/his purpose (which is to be fierce and really sexy and powerful) and isn’t concerned with those in opposition.
Creativity will always polarise people, so accepting it and being fierce about our creations is a mighty big step towards unblocking expression. Don’t worry about tags like good or talented. Just express and hold close to our calling as an expressive being. Honour our craft. The accolades or lack thereof are not what’s important.
In closing, one of the things that I always do as a writer and a creator is to remember the little girl I was—the one that used to sit and stare at the stars and write funny poems about underwear. She used to dream a lot and I want her dreams to come true. I think that’s the least I can do for her.
Maybe your inner little one wants to be honoured as well?
I hope for you that you get your creativity back. Our dance with our creativity will ebb and flow, but it’s so beautiful being a part of it. Be fierce and burn those stickers.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock/Editor: Travis May
Photo: author’s own