So where does creativity come from? Are we born with it, is it learned, or is it some combination of both? Do we only have a certain amount and when we have used it up we are empty? Or can we learn to do something we have never done – sing, dance, write, paint – and get more creative over time? We all know ‘creative people’ and some of us think we are in that group and others think they are not creative at all.
There is no magic formula that guarantees that one piece of work will turn into the next great American novel, while the other remains on the shelf beloved by no one. I heard an expert in a creative field comment that they knew why we only get a new ‘genius’ in their area every ten to thirteen years. He knows why there are not more pop up artists taking the world by storm. He paused…for dramatic effect of course…and said it is because no one wants to do the work anymore. It takes work and time and energy and effort to succeed, and like it or not being creative takes work.
I thought about that for a while and I have to agree with him. I am contacted all the time by artists who want us to represent and hang their work; yet they don’t have time to meet us in person or make an appointment to show us their work. They have painted 10-15 canvases and now want to sell them. Ten to fifteen pieces of work does not an artist make, try more like a thousand to fifteen hundred. Picasso produced an estimated 50,000 works of art during his lifetime. He started painting when he was seven and died at age ninety-one; so on average he created 595 pieces each year for eighty-four years. THAT is a lot of hard work.
I think we mystify creativity as if it is elusive and something only a few people possess, when in reality all of us are creative. We may do it in different ways, but all of us have creativity within our soul. The hard part is working to find it, nurture it, let it grow and expand as we grow and expand. There is not one answer, one artwork or measure for creativity. The child who makes a ball out of rubber bands and then plays tennis with it is just as creative as the person who sculps a piece of marble for the first time. The question is not whether we are creative, the REAL question is what is preventing me from exploring my creativity?
There are twists and turns, bends and bows all along the creative journey. I would ask you to have the courage to let yourself be creative. Let go of conventional wisdom and the cool, clean crisp edges you live within…let go. Enjoy the curves and explore what creative secret you have hiding behind the next bend. The world is waiting to see what only you can bring to the forefront. Instead of avoiding it, embrace the twists and turns of your creative self, it could be the best ride of your life.