headdesk, Zinta Avens Auzins
People sometimes compliment me on things I’ve made or done, and add “I could never do that,” “I wish I could do that,” or “I’m not creative at all.”
My advice to the wishers is: don’t say or think you’re not creative. You’re only blocking yourself from the possibility that you actually could partake in creativity. Maybe you just haven’t discovered what your soul wants to create yet, or you’re afraid of doing something badly. Don’t be afraid. Don’t wish you were creative—just go out there and do battle with words, paint, fabric, knitting needles, stencils, anything.
Start small. Baby steps will whet your appetite and could lead you to something bigger. Stitch a phrase onto a shirt. Draw on a handkerchief. Make a collage. Eventually you could be welding metal sculptures or sewing dresses. (But don’t feel like you have to progress to so-called bigger accomplishments.)
Make time to make things. Stop watching television. It could free up a lot of time. It’s okay if you only make things occasionally. Eventually you will crave creation and you will pull it into your life; you will feel the need to make something special, beautiful, or useful every day.
The act of creativity isn’t necessarily exceptional, complicated, or momentous in itself. It is really a matter of synthesizing time, place, tools, and materials and making them work together. It is a remarkable act when you make time and space in your life to do something you are passionate about or something you just want to try, or something you are downright afraid of doing. It is also amazing when you give up thinking about doing something and you actually do it. It is a very big deal.
On my road to becoming a self-proclaimed excellent seamstress, an okay abstract watercolour painter, a musical poet, and avid re-user and re-imaginer of broken, unused objects, one piece of wisdom has consistently reminded me not to take myself (and my creative endeavours) too seriously, and has encouraged me to try doing things I think I would be pretty terrible at. It also lets me keep practicing things I know I’m bad at. I can’t remember how or where I came upon the quote, but it is Julia Cameron’s, and it is simply “anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” On that note, I encourage you to pick up those drumsticks, that paintbrush, or that packet of seeds, and just go for it. No matter how big a mess you think you will make, it will be a beautiful one.