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Not creative? Think again

I don't know about you but I have spent my entire life convinced that I am not creative. I am the oldest of five girls and we each had a "role" in the family. I was the bookworm - studious and hard working. My other sisters had their labels as well - "creative", "nurturer", "athlete", "rebel". And while there was absolutely nothing wrong with my niche in the family - I did love books and studying and enjoyed learning - I think over time I somehow came to believe that the label defined me and I started to believe (and convincingly share with others) that I was "not creative". My mother tried - in high school she insisted I take art class to bring some balance to the heavy academic load I had. I hated every minute of it as I struggled to fit into what others defined as "art".


I hear from many folks I have met - "I am not creative like you!" and it takes me by such surprise. It has happened so often that I have started to really think about what it means to be creative. For some reason, many of us (me included) seem to believe that creativity is something you are born with. But my experience makes me rethink that belief. Maybe creativity, like so many other skills and talents, is something you can develop?


When I first started working with clay, I was certainly not a natural. I cannot begin to count how many "wonky" pots I made and how many flops / failures I experienced. Nothing about ceramics came easily to me. And even as I started to master forms, I struggled to figure out glazing them. But I learned that with time and lots (and LOTS!) of practice, I began to improve my skills and this then gave me the time and space for my imagination to take flight.


So I begin to question my original belief that creativity is an innate trait. My experience tells me that it is not. We all have the potential for expression in us - and it is more a matter of finding an outlet for that expression that inspires and engages us. My outlet is clay and I know that I have just started to tap into my imagination and creativity. I am very excited about where I will go.


So if you are someone who believes that you are just "not creative", I encourage and challenge you to different creative outlets to see if any speak to you. And worry less about your output / outcomes. Give yourself the time and space to explore and create. Your medium might not be clay - it could be pen and ink, or fabric, or music. Lose yourself in the experience - and release any expectations. And who knows what you might find?


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