Am I creative?

• 4 min read

What is creativity? What is a creative? Am I a creative?

Am I creative?

photo: Alice Dietrich (Unsplash)

Perhaps your day-job requires being creative in some way. Perhaps you have a creative hobby or side-project, like writing, designing, making music, drawing, knitting, dancing, and so on. There's a good chance you have more than one of these creative outlets.

Whichever is your 'type'(s) of creativity, here are some of the things I have contended with and which you might be able to, also:

The word 'creative'

Not so long ago, I remember saying - or at least thinking things like - "I'm not creative enough". As I sit here I ask myself, "Hmm, has this really changed?"

Calling yourself a 'creative' or an 'artist' can throw up all kinds of "oh my, that's not me" feelings. Creativity and art are for those wonderful souls we admire who were gifted God-given talents, right?

Calling ourselves creative or - even more dauntingly - a creative feels odd, even wrong. Even if that's what we are and that's what we are proving to ourselves every time we create something, whether it's a poetry verse or a sketch or a few lines of a 1st draft.

Heck, every time you put pen to paper is a demonstration of the fact that you're creative. Or that you're being creative which, actually means that - in that moment - you are creative. Me writing this blog post shows that I am a creative. I must keep reminded myself about that.

I used to always think of myself as "academic" and "nerdy", and not "sporty" or "creative" or "entrepreneurial" (more below on this). I've realised it's these labels that are problematic - and, in particular, this notion of being 'born with innate qualities that are fixed' (fixed mindset), rather than one of a growth mindset in which we are each created equal with unlimited potential which can be realised through focus and effort.

Am I a 'proper' creative, though?

Each and every one of us creates something every day, even if we don't realise it. It might be putting our bed together, knocking up a simple lunch, or walking a new route to work. However seemingly small or insignificant, these are all creative acts.

It's a weird word isn't it, creative? And loaded with all sorts of stuff that makes us feel sh*tty, namely something along the lines of "I'm not CS Lewis, nor that amazing designer or musician - that's what creative is, I'm not creative."

And so... "Don't I actually have to produce 'art' to be creative?" Like, actually finish a book, or an album, or a similar such project. And then, once you've finished said project... "But doesn't it have to be, like, good?"

Of course, we don't think our work is worthy of those of the artists we like and those who many others adore... we simply don't allow ourselves to feel worthy of being compared to them.

We do everything we possibly can to separate ourselves from that 'creative' label, and it remains an elusive and impossible-to-reach ideal constructed by us and the conditioning around us. "Surely, I'm not worthy of putting myself in the same group as those wonderful, esteemed creatives and artists, am I?"

On getting creative work done

On the one hand, I have some conditions under which it feels more conducive for me to write. Have the basics met, for example, like feeling well-rested and fed. And then there are some other details, like when I write and where I write from. I prefer to write earlier in the day, when I feel the most energised and the least distracted by the world around me. So, actually, I have a whole list of conditions under which I can write well...

Woah, hold on a second. Is that actually the case?

You see, on the one hand there are some conditions under which we create best but, at the same time, we are free to create as and whenever we want. And, truth be told, once I start writing - however more difficult it might be today than it was yesterday - I can usually keep writing something. Any need to 'control' my writing under certain conditions comes more from my self-doubt/perfectionism than anything else.

You see, in my experience, being a creative is really about giving ourselves permission to create... and to keep on doing so.

To think of yourself as a person who is capable of doing whatever they want, and whatever that is is good enough.

There is nothing tangible which automatically makes you a creative, there is no threshold to reach. It is just about creating something and, after doing so, reminding yourself "See, I am a creative after all".

We might just find that the separation barrier between us and them diminishes, the more we let these notions exists in our heads and choose to create, anyway.

Of course you can call yourself a creative. You are creative. It is all there, whether you realise it or not. The question is: will you choose to lean into it, or not? It's completely your choice. The power is with(in) you.



PS. I feel like many of us experience even more adverse reactions to the word 'artist', which seems to have this 'special', 'giftedness' feel to it. When - again - just like with creative, that's simply not true.

And - something I mentioned earlier but I want to mention again because this is SO important - so much of this stuff comes back to notions of labels and 'fixed mindset' stuff, vs growth mindset. The same applied to my notions of thinking I'm 'academic' but not 'sporty', or 'creative' or 'entrepreneurial' - as per my recent tweet:

← guest interview: Elizabeth Miner
On emotions + intuition (Issue 30) →

Subscribe to INF Club

Subscribe to the newsletter and unlock access to member-only content.

You've successfully subscribed to INF Club
Welcome! You are now a INF Club subscriber.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! You are now a paying member and have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.