edited: Monday, May 19, 2008
By Smoky Trudeau
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, May 19, 2008
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Creativity is inherent in all of us. Here's how to tap into yours.
Creativity is not something that you have or you don’t have. Creativity is inherent in all of us. I don’t believe the word creative is synonymous with the word talent. Talent is something you have or don’t have. I really love to sing, but you don’t want to be in the same room with me when I'm singing. I don't have that talent.
Creativity is a gift to be respected and nurtured, just as you respect and nurture your family, your pets, your houseplants, your health. It is as vital to life as the air you breathe and the food you eat. If you don’t nurture and respect your creativity, it will fail you, just like your body will fail you if you fail to nurture and respect it.
Creativity needs to be fed, just like your body needs to be fed. And just as your body cannot thrive on a single food, creativity cannot thrive when channeled into a single medium. You wouldn’t feed your body only carrots. Yes, carrots are good for you, but if you ate only carrots, you’d get sick (not to mention your skin would turn a really funny shade of orange). Creativity is no different. It needs a variety of foods to stay healthy.
For most creative people, this isn’t a problem, because most of us have a condition we call creative wanderlust. Creative wanderlust is the need to pursue a variety of artistic endeavors. Talent and artistic ability are optional. For people with creative wanderlust, bad art is just as fulfilling as good art. It’s not the end product, but rather the act of creating, that’s important.
You can’t ignore creative wanderlust. Nor can you cure it. It isn’t a disease. Rather, it is dis-ease, and the only way to relieve it is to grab a paintbrush, pick up a drum, put on your dancing shoes—whatever your heart tells you—and create.
Creative wanderlust doesn't necessarily mean roving from home base. Sometimes, I like to switch gears from writing and sculpt figures from clay. I make collages. I draw (poorly). Sometimes I even sit at the piano and bang away for hours on end even though I haven't had a lesson in more than 30 years.
For people with creative wanderlust, a blank canvas, a new sketchbook, or an unusual musical instrument from some faraway land is like an open road begging to be explored. It’s a fair analogy; people with creative wanderlust also tend to have the need to explore new places, often in search of new creative experiences. This is certainly true of me. I wander all over the place, sketchbooks and notebooks in hand, writing mostly, but sometimes sketching.
If I didn't honor my creative wanderlust, I couldn't be the writer I am today. Pursuing other artistic pleasures is like taking writing vitamins. I write okay when all I do is write, but I create beautiful prose when I take my creative vitamins—when I feed my creative nature with drawing, piano playing, or sculpting clay figures, or any of the other artistic endeavors I undertake as the mood hits me.
It's not necessary to be good at these other artistic expressions. I'm pretty good at sculpting, but lousy at drawing--and I already told you about my singing. It's the process, not the product that's important here.
The next time you feel creatively blocked, or just need a change of pace, take your creative vitamins. Pick up a sketch pad, grab a box of crayolas, dig your clarinet out of the closet and dust off it's case. You'll find you're a better writer for having done so.