5 Steps to Living Your True Creative Life

Image of a grunge drawing in fuscia, teals and green with a white petaled flower overlaid the colors in the right lower corner and the block letters spelling out Never stop creating in red over yellow in the upper left corner.

Whether you’ve been denying, avoiding, minimizing, exaggerating, or blocked, deep down you’ve always known you’re missing something. You look for answers. The problem is we rationalize and excuse and delay because if we want to survive (which we do) we must be practical. After all, we’re not all creative geniuses, right?

Right…to a certain extent. There are things we all must have: air, food, water, and shelter. But beyond the basics, there are the things that make us whole: hope, love, peace, and creativity. Yes, you read correctly. Creativity is one of the things that makes you—all of us—whole. It taps into your intuition, your gut, your truth, your true self. Even those of us who try to live our true creative lives often need a refresher on the steps to continue that life.

Acknowledge You are Creative

Undo the brainwashing. Stop the magical thinking. Creativity isn’t magic. It isn’t purely a blessing of the right DNA. Those whose gifts are accessible at a very young age are extremely rare. 

You don’t have to have an Eureka moment to be creative. Nor do you have to be an artist. 

Creativity isn’t always one thing. It doesn’t always happen one way. Creativity comes from curiosity and necessity. 

Have you ever done something, fixed something, and someone else said “I never would have done it like that”? You did it because you needed to, so it felt easy. But easy for you, isn’t the same for someone else. What you thought to do is unthinkable for someone else. You are creative. 

Creativity rarely happens just because you believe you can do a thing. Belief in yourself is important, but you also have to take the time to learn and practice.

Gift Yourself Time

Every creative needs time to read, to be curious, to think, to dream. Too often, we put limits on ourselves. We say if we haven’t learned to do this by this date, I’m done or it’s not meant to be. Bull-hockey pucks! 

You can learn some things quickly. Other things take repetition over repetition over repetition until you are sick of it. Each of us differs in what we learn quickly. But all of us have at least one thing that takes forever to learn.

There is rarely, if ever, a Eureka moment. Look at the “overnight” successes of creatives in your field. Most have worked for years to learn and practice before their success. But no one wants to read, Success after Ten Years of Practice. 

Leonardo da Vinci took sixteen years to paint the Mona Lisa. 

Steve Jobs spent his childhood learning to work on electronics from his father in the family garage. 

It takes more than a moment. It’s more like taking one thousand and one pieces of failed ideas merged into an act of creativity that finally works. 

No matter the creative path we choose, it takes time to learn and practice our craft. Give yourself the grace, the gift of time. 

Cultivate Creativity

1918 Fireboard illustration by Grandma Moses shows a lake through two leafy trees in muted browns, greens, and blues.

Creativity is not as fragile as it’s made out to be, but without care, it can grow dim. If you’ve denied your creativity for a long time, it’s difficult to rekindle your awareness of that spark inside you. 

Inspiration is fickle and lazy, so you learn ways to be creative when you feel unimaginative. You need to be brave enough to be different. 

I wish I could tell you what will work for you. We are all so different I can’t. All I can tell you is that it’s possible to rekindle creativity at any age. 

Artist Grandma Moses was 77.

Chef Julia Child was a horrible cook until she was in her mid-30s.

Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison was an English teacher and an editor before she wrote her first novel.

Actress Kathryn Joosten discovered her love of performing at 42.

Leonard Cohen was a novelist and poet before he started his music career at 33.

Allow Creative Failures

The moment that you feel that just possibly you’re walking down the street naked exposing too much of yourself… that’s the moment you might be starting to get it right.

Neil Gaiman

Name one thing you learned how to do without ever failing. I’ll bet it’s never happened. Falling down, failing, is part of learning. Losing is part of learning to win more often. It’s painful sometimes. But without that pain, without that loss, without falling down—how do you learn to get up faster, to do better? 

Your creativity is born of your vulnerability. It is born through experimentation, trying, failing, and trying again. 

Experiment, grow. Don’t be afraid to fail. Easy for me to say, right? Not so much. Fear of failure has stopped me so many times…if I can teach you only one thing, please, stop being so afraid to fail. (Yeah, I’m talking to myself.) 

Value yourself. Value your creativity. But remember, you are not your creation. 

Have Fun

You don’t have to be insane or starving or miserable to be a creative. You don’t have to make your creativity a business. And you certainly don’t have to suck all the joy out of what you do. Remember why you love what you do. Appreciate it. Honor it. Every. Day. Have fun. 

Give Yourself a Gift

Whether you can five minutes a day or spend entire days deep in your creative endeavors, you can choose to live your truth. Tap into your creativity for the first time or choose to go deeper into your true creative life. Start today.

What does your true creative life look like?  

Image Credits

Top image by ShonEjai from Pixabay

Second image by Grandma Moses, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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