When I first recognized the word creative being used as a noun, it sparked something inside me. Everything about it felt right. The person using it was author and entrepreneur, Joanna Penn, in reference to herself. She said it with boldness, complete confidence. As I’ve grown accustomed to it, I realize it’s the only way the word should be said—as if you’re standing high atop the Swiss Alps like you’re in some Ricola commercial, shouting, “I’m a creative!” for all of God’s green earth to hear.
There is something so freeing, so revitalizing about coming to the place of accepting yourself as a creative, without question. It’s a badge of honor, a password to a secret club, a ticket to the chocolate factory, a written edict from the king, one which gives you permission to be who you are and do what you want. It’s really something special—something no one and nothing can take from you. It’s yours and you’ve earned it by right. When you’re a creative, you know that you’re neither a hack nor a fake. You stop caring what the critics say because you know, deep down inside, you’re the real deal.
At least, that’s how it should be. But there is a struggle—a feeling of doubt. Am I really a creative? What right do I have to call myself by such a title? Sometimes it feels more like claiming you’re an artist after having just made your first scribble on newsprint with a crayon. But an artist and a creative are two different things. I’ll not get into what is and is not an artist (tis a worn road with many side-trails) but a creative, well, anyone can be one. And by anyone, I mean you. Yes, you can be one. All you have to do is want it, then turn your desire into action. If you do, then you are, unequivocally, a creative. Name it and claim it my friend.
What if you don’t feel it yet? That’s fine. Do I spring out of bed every day, fueled by incredible currents of creative juices pumping through my veins (eew?) like water from a firehose? Heck. No. Some days all I want to do is hit snooze, repeatedly. But I get up anyways, most of the time. And even when I give in (which I sometimes do), then I make myself get up and step up the next day. Part of being a creative is the struggle. Some days you will feel like a fake, afraid one day everyone will see through the mask and realize you didn’t have an invitation to the party. But it’s not true. When you’re a creative, you, my friend, are the party.
Wait, how can you be a party? Do you have to wear a chandelier on your head and hold a punchbowl in your arms? Well, that would be an interesting costume, but that’s not quite it. What am I getting at here? I’ll make it plain: if you want a life of creativity, if you take steps toward such an end and you work at it, then you’ve earned yourself the title. Trying is being.
What is a creative? It’s someone who looks at the world in a different way, who finds new solutions to old problems, who inspires others to do the same; one who not only uses creativity, but lives it. Do you think you can do that? Well, I know you can. If you do, if you are, then you have my permission to let the world know:
You! Are! A! Creative!
And if you are one, welcome! You’re in good company.
“Let them call you a failure, incapable, hopeless, useless, incompetent, wrong, a lost cause—you'll be in good company, with some of the greatest people to have ever lived. But if they ever call you uncreative, consider it your chance to prove them wrong, about that and everything else.”
-Me (A. P. Lambert)
Hey Creatives, have you struggled with this? What causes you to doubt your own creativity and how do you overcome it? Let us know in the comments below.