“I’d love to do that, but I’m not creative.”
I hear this all the time, and it makes me sad. The idea that each of us is either artistic or not artistic is outdated, inaccurate, and unhealthy.
The capacity to create exists within each of us. We only need to accept it, open ourselves to it, and create.
I recently met an accountant who was writing a novel. A friend of mine, who is studying medicine, writes poetry. I have several friends who are brilliant at math, and also play the guitar, write songs, and paint. A friend of my sisters, an engineer, is also an incredible actor.
My hero, Julia Cameron, also believes that everyone is an artist. In her book The Artist’s Way she guides the reader in accessing and nurturing their inner artist.
These are some of my favorite quotes from The Artist’s Way.
1. “We are far more colorful, far more creative, and far more charismatic than we know.”
We often underestimate or depreciate ourselves. Many of us never begin creating because we believe that we don’t have anything to say, or that we won’t say it well.
Our inner critic tells us that we are boring, untalented, awkward, and not good enough.
But we can counter this by consistently affirming the opposite. Declaring or writing personal, specific, and positive affirmations or mantras such as “I am creative,” “I am interesting,” or “I am good enough” affirm these truths within us. This moves us through self-doubt into confidence.
Through affirmations, I found the self-assurance to speak at open mic events and submit my writings to publications.
2. “Creating does move us on.”
You cannot create and remain stagnant. A day at a time, a creation at a time, you enter art and enter the flow of life. You are able to ride out the rapids of your life, and the quieter waters as well.
Art gives you both a place to rest and a vehicle in which to move forward.
Creating has a magical way of carrying us through struggles and tribulations that we might otherwise have gotten hung-up on or even stuck in.
Whenever I feel stuck or frustrated, I journal, write a poem, or tinker around on my ukulele. Before I know it, inspiration or insight has come quietly to mind. Making art has helped me fight depression, forgive people I thought I’d hate forever, break bad habits, and make big decisions.
3. “With art, we surrender to being more truly ourselves, and those selves are colorful and beautiful.”
When we create, our inner creative force gently clears away that which is not us to reveal our true selves.
Through creating art, we discover our buried desires, forgotten hobbies, repressed dreams, and neglected interests.
When I began writing more often, I noticed my dress style changing, my goals for the future becoming more defined, and my relationships deepening.
4. “By seeking the creator within and embracing our own gift of creativity, we learn to be spiritual in this world, to trust that the universe is good and so are we and so is all of creation.”
Creativity cultivates this positivity and love within us.
When we actively and consistently engage with creativity, our eyes open to the good in this world—from the simple delight of wildflowers and random acts of kindness, to our own inner goodness.
5. “The artist’s language is a sensual one, a language of felt experience. When we work at our art, we dip into the well of our experience and scoop out images.”
Life is experience, and art is expression of experience.
Each of us, no matter who we are, reads, sees, hears, thinks, feels, and participates in things. This is why every single one of us can express ourselves by drawing from our own inner well.
It does not need to be Picasso or Hemingway or Lennon. It needs only be true to our own unique experience.
6. “When we meet our creativity, we meet ourselves, and that encounter happens in the moment.”
We cannot hear creativity’s ideas or suggestions when our thoughts are in a hundred different places.
To engage with it, we need to engage with the moment—whether we’re cooking, driving, daydreaming, hiking, or doing absolutely nothing at all. As long as we are doing it with the whole of our awareness, we are open to creativity.
7. “Remember that in order to recover as an artist, you must be willing to be a bad artist. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one.”
We often expect ourselves to be perfect at everything we try. I gave up on calligraphy before even giving myself a chance because, after a few failed attempts, I declared myself “bad at it.”
We need to remind ourselves that beginners are, by nature, bad. I was once bad at my job, bad at cooking, and bad at socializing.
But I allowed myself to be bad at these things while continuing to work at improving. In this way, I got good at them. Creativity is no different.
I hope that these quotes have inspired your inner artists, and that you go on to create wonderful things.
Author: Aimee-Claire Smith
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Taia Butler
Social Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
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