Get Cozy with Your Creative Chaos

Creativity is easy when you’re a preschool-aged child. Slowly but surely, the need for the “right” answers and approval grows and creativity shrinks. We become afraid of the chaos that is creativity. Stop being afraid. Get cozy with your creative chaos.

Count to Five and Start

Starting is the hardest part, facing a blank page you balk. Your brain wants to find order. There’s safety and security in order. But creativity is not a straight line from concept to the idea to execution to product. 

What Creative Chaos Looks Like

Image shows graphic representation of creativity with a squiggly, chaotic line morphing into a disjointed line and then a line with ups and downs
Image adapted from an image on  

Allow Failure

Part of creativity is failure. And often, failure sets off alarms in our brain. It triggers the fight-or-flight response. There are no right or wrong answers. Does that make you uncomfortable? Good. You can’t create without a little discomfort and a lot of chaos. Plan for failure. For writers, that means write a crappy first draft. Plan for it to be crappy. Editing it will turn it into the polished piece.


Feed your creativity the images, words, sounds, rhythms it needs to replenish. Gathering lots of ideas is critical to creativity. Use all the arts, all the media you can get your hands on. The things you feed your creativity mix and meld and mash together into something new and different.

Processing Time

You sit down at your creative station, your desk, and…nothing happens. Your mind is a blank. Most likely you’ve not given your brain the processing time it needs. Do something else. Unleash your creative chaos. Your ideas need time in the primordial ooze to reshape them into something creative. 

Be Open

The first idea you come up with is usually predictable, trite, or blah. Be open to lots of ideas, even the ones that seem crazy. Play with each of them a little. Have fun with it!

Be Ready

Creativity often comes in the middle of something else. Be prepared. Keep a notebook and pen or electronic device by your bed, in your pocket or purse, everywhere. Prepare your family/friends. That blank stare in the middle of a conversation isn’t about them; it’s your brain finally pulling something out of your creative chaos.

You don’t have to be an artist. Everyone is creative. But many adults have stifled that creativity for so long they believe they have no creativity. Undo the brainwashing. Build up your creativity muscles with ways you can be more creative and what you should know about creativity. Creativity isn’t a straight line. It isn’t neat. But it is mighty rewarding. Get cozy with your creative chaos and go be a maker.

What You Should Know About Creativity

What should you know about creativity? You know you can “Undo the Brainwashing,” that there are more than “3 Ways You Can Be More Creative,” and it’s possible to find “creativity in a time of chaos.” There’s much, much more to learn. Here are a few more inspirational thoughts.

What Is Creativity?

Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected. William Plomer

Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas. Donatella Versace

 “Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” -Edward de Bono

Creativity is intelligence having fun. Albert Einstein

In the end, creativity isn’t just the things we choose to put in, it’s the things we choose to leave out. Austin Kleon

Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature. Eric Hoffer

Creativity is based on the belief that there’s no particular virtue in doing things they way they’ve always been done. Rudolph Flesch

Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous. Bill Moyers

Who Can Be Creative?

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” — Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“The creative adult is the child who survived.” — Ursula Leguin

In order to create you have to believe in your ability to do so and that often means excluding whole chunks of normal life, and, of course, pumping yourself up as much as possible as a way of keeping on. Sort of cheering for yourself in the great football stadium of life. T.C. Boyle

What You Should Know About Creativity

“The chief enemy of creativity is “good” sense.” — Pablo Picasso

Great things are not done by impulse, but a series of small things brought together. Vincent Van Gogh

Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. Brené Brown

Create with the heart; build with the mind. Criss Jami

Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion. Jack Kerouac

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.  Maya Angelou

Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics. Victor Pinchuk

Creativity is contagious. Pass it on. Albert Einstein

Do you have a favorite what you should know about creativity quote? Please, share it below. Or, share your own thoughts. What do you think everyone should know about creativity?

Undo the Brainwashing-Be Creative

Do you confuse being creative with being original? You might confuse being original with being unique. And do you think there’s no way you can be creative because your life is so ordinary? Society has brainwashed you. Undo the brainwashing: Be creative.


According to Merriam-Webster creative means one is marked by the ability or power to create given to creating, having the quality of something created rather than imitated.

Original means the source or cause from which something arises; that from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is made; a work composed firsthand; a person of fresh initiative or inventive capacity; or a unique or eccentric person.

It’s easy to see why original and creative get confused. If one is the source or cause from which something arises that thing is an original created by someone who is creative. 

A creative person can create something original (never having been in existence before). But a creative person can also “create” a variation on something in existence.

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” 

— Kurt Vonnegut
Image of a light bulb plugging itself in-undo the brainwashing: be creative.


Sometimes creativity needs rest, solitude, and meditation. Give your creativity time.  

If you have struggled with meditation in the past, try looking at it a different way. Meditation means engaging in contemplation or reflection. Yes, it can also mean to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. But the first definition is what’s important. You must take take time to contemplate what it is that you wish to do creatively. Step out of your busy, busy schedule and schedule some time to think. 

Trust Yourself

Schools and some parents and some persons in authority squash creativity. They justify themselves that they must do that to ‘control’ the classroom/work situation or to “make” a child/adult follow the rules. Some rules are important for health and safety. Group activities require some common behaviors, in other words, rules. But creativity needs nurturing. Under the pressure of all those rules, creativity can grow quiet and weak. You must listen carefully to hear your creative voice. And you must trust it. Trust that it doesn’t matter if there are failures. Most things you can do over. In the words of Neil Gaiman, make glorious mistakes. For it’s in those mistakes you’ll find your creativity.

Be a Vessel

Chance favors the prepared mind.

— Louis Pasteur

Give yourself what you need to undo the brainwashing: Be creative. Soak up as much information and inspiration as you can. But know what speaks to you. How do you know what will spark inspiration? Look for things in your learning/thinking style.

  • Visual—you learn best from pictures, images, and spacial relationships. Feed your creativity with trips to museums, art and craft shows, or other visual feasts. 
  • Aural—You prefer using sound and music. Music, rhythms tapped on your desk, and lectures or webinars will probably feed your creativity.
  • Verbal—you learn best using words (speech, writing, and reading). Reading, audiobooks, and/or journaling may work for feeding your creative self.
  • Physical (kinesthetic)—you prefer using your body, hands, or sense of touch to learn. Perhaps you would get inspiration during a power walk or a run. Gather a list of inspirational activities—a touch museum or zoo, working with clay or tools, or keeping your hands busy knitting or sewing as a way of feeding your creative self.
  • Mathematical (Logical)—Logic and reasoning systems are your preferred method of learning.Try numbering your ideas or create a systematic routine—try several—to spark your creativity. 
  • Social—you love to learn in a group setting with other people. Your inspiration may be at a party, in a large classroom, or in other social settings.
  • Solitary—you work best alone and learn best when you use self-directed-study. Carving time out of your day to be alone to think or study will be key for feeding your creativity.

Don’t know what your learning or thinking style is? Experiment with the suggestions above. I’ll be you find one that works better than the others.

Be Creative

Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.

 — Bruce Garrabrandt

Remember, you don’t have to be an artist to be creative. Undo the brainwashing: be creative. Give yourself permission to be creative. Fill your creative well and your soul and your happiness will grow. 

3 Ways You Can Be More Creative

You still think you aren’t creative or you aren’t creative enough? Even after you read “You Don’t Have to be an Artist?” Hint: everyone is creative. But, you may be out of practice. Creativity needs to be practiced, repeated, made a habit. Here are 3 ways you can be more creative.

Image of a row of lightbulbs with one lit...Creativity needs to practiced. Here are 3 ways you can be more creative.

Change Your Approach

You feel stymied. Blunted. Perhaps you feel you’ve used up all your creativity. If your creative self has spent time in a deep, dark hole you need to change your approach. Don’t expect it to spring out of the hole and work on demand. Think about it. Would you expect a mistreated dog or cat to let you waltz up to it and pet it without getting scratched or bit? Of course, you wouldn’t. You’d try coaxing the animal out. You’d re-establish trust and show it that you would be gentle.

Treat your creative self gently. Don’t allow negative self-talk. At least recognize and stop the negative self-talk. Creativity seems to make us all nervous. Watch this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert about the fear we have around creativity.

Look for the ways you are creative and give yourself a pep talk. You fixed that thing-a-bob with a hairpin? Way to be creative! You whipped up dinner by combining two different leftovers? Look at your creative self!

Make Room for Creativity

Make a date with your creativity. Let’s say you want to be more creative with your mealtimes. A set time and place where you’ll allow for more creative thoughts.

You can’t just give someone a creativity injection. You have to create an environment for curiosity and a way to encourage people and get the best out of them.

Ken Robinson

Give yourself permission to say yes to every idea that comes into your head. Pickled steak? Yes, I could make that a meal or…I could make pickle steaks…or….you get the idea. Crazy ideas you won’t use—of course, but I’ll bet a good one will pop up when you least expect it. (By the way, I’m a terrible cook so my creativity has to really stretch there. Lol)

Feed your Creativity

To be more creative, feed your creativity a varied diet. Go to museums, concerts, nature centers, arts & crafts fairs, aquariums, or zoos. Take a class. Go window shopping for a fantasy gift. Read—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, song lyrics, plays traditional, avant-garde.

Try something new—horseback riding, skiing, fishing, something you’ve never done before. Notice how you feel when you try it and how you feel afterward.

Creativity requires input, and that’s what research is. You’re gathering material with which to build.

Gene Luen Yang

Make yourself a vessel for creativity. Read about or watch folks who inspire you with new and different ideas. James Clear is one person on line who blogs about creativity. See what he has to say about How to Unlock Your Hidden Creative Genuis.

By the way, I’m celebrating a little of my creativity. My new novel, Fellowship, is available on Amazon and most online bookstores starting today. Buy your copy today.

So, those are 3 ways you can be more creative. Have you tried any of the things listed here? Did you find one thing that worked best for you? Please share your discoveries in the comments. Next week we’ll discuss more things you can do to properly feed and care for your creativity. Until then, practice.

You Don’t Have to be an Artist

Sadly, many people seem to think they aren’t creative because they don’t make art. You don’t have to be an artist to be creative. 

Illustration of a brain with lightning coming out of it--You don't have to be an artist to be creative.

Creativity is not just for artists. It’s for business people looking for a new way to close a sale; it’s for engineers trying to solve a problem; it’s for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way. 

Twyla Tharp


Merriam-Webster dictionary defines creativity as the ability to create and the quality of being creative. 

Notice, it does not define what you create. You don’t have to be an artist or do any particular craft. If you create a comfortable home—that’s a type of creativity. You can create a recipe by substituting one ingredient for another. Creativity comes in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

Creativity runs across many categories in life, from the arts-and-crafts project a mum or dad does with their kids, to the bestselling author’s manuscript, to the designs of the hairdresser, to the creations of the computer programming genius.

Tabatha Coffey

You Don’t Have to be Good

Unfortunately, some of us have been taught that creative mistakes were “bad” or creative play was “a waste of time.” And some of us were taught that if you don’t excel at something, you aren’t creative.

But you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t even have to be good. Let go of that. You are creative. 

What is Creativity?

Creativity comes from curiosity, from taking two ideas and rubbing them together to get something different. 

Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm.

Earl Nightingale

It’s the bedtime story you make up to please your child. 

The fact is that creativity is everywhere. It’s just about the way that you look at things.

Ginevra Elkann
image of paint brushes with different colors of paint on them, you don't have to be an artist

It’s the way you fixed the broken chair or even in the lie you told to get out of going to your mother-in-law’s for dinner. (No, I’m not condoning telling lies, I’m pointing out that it takes some creativity to put together a convincing lie—or even an unconvincing one.)

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.

Mary Lou Cook

It’s the color scheme in your home or the model added something to when you built it or its the crazy lego house you built with your niece or nephew.

Image & Quote "True Play is creativity." John Lasseter image is of dad holding little girl while he holds a sparkler--you don't have to be an artist

There is a Fountain of Youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.

Sophia Loren

You Are Creative

Still feeling uncreative? Read my post “Do Things from Your Soul” to help you find your passion and enthusiasm. And be here next week to read more about the care and feeding of creativity.

Remember, you don’t have to be an artist to be creative. You don’t have to be perfect or even good. You ARE creative. Recognize your creativity. Honor it. And you’ll learn how creative you are.