Remembering how to be creative

how to be creative

I am certain that making art is healing, at least for me. Yet it took me a while to remember how to be creative and that I live to be creative. I remember showing up on the first day of school with brand new school supplies. The watercolors were bright and shiny with promise. The tips of the crayons were sharp and the waxy smell was an invitation to play, to imagine and to create. The stacks of paper were bright white and uncluttered by random pencil marks or streaks of crayon.

I love Pinterest for the eye-candy, the creative inspiration and sheer delight that it brings. It reminds me that we are all creative! Then why did it take me so long to remember that I am creative, that I love to make art of all kinds. On Pinterest, I stumbled across this pin and thought, “Yes, that’s it exactly. This is how I feel about my life every day!”

remember how to be creativeThe artist, Lisa Romero, writes about being awake late into the night, struggling to create. Her epiphany evolves into what has become a mantra for me, “In order to be I have to make.” Here’s what I mean by that: I am fulfilled when I create. This is where the healing work starts. Creativity adds depth, color and meaning to my life. If you have been following my blog, you know that I think everyone is creative and that it manifests differently for each of us. Some of us love to cook or write or draw or dance or sail or act or write code or design games… you get the point.

Why don’t we see ourselves as creative when we are in the act of making something? I could list 100 reasons but here are a few common ones.

  • We don’t see ourselves as Artists or Painters or Writers. Those people are special, they have some god-given talent that the rest of us don’t possess, don’t they?
  • We are afraid to be judged by others if we say we are Creative with a capital C. Perhaps we are delusional, we think to ourselves, like some of those singers on American Idol. You know the ones I am talking about, the ones during the auditions that think they are great and attempt to argue with the judges about the BIG mistake they are making by not allowing said contestant to continue in the competition.
  • Or perhaps we have people who have frequently told us we are not good at art, writing, dance, sports, business, whatever! Let me give you a personal example that happened early last year.

My husband and I were in the process of cleaning out our home and preparing to move cross country. I went into a major throwaway, giveaway, donate, get rid of, pack it, cleaning mode for months. We were pretty sure we would be downsizing once we moved to our new home of Santa Barbara, CA and we needed to seriously lighten our load after living for 13 years and raising two young kids in the same house.

I am a book fiend, I collect them, read most of them and love it when I see them double and triple stacked on the shelves around me. According to my realtor, this was not going to help sell the house. So (insert heavy sigh here) the books and the bookshelves had to go. Once I finished cleaning out my bedroom (don’t ask about the other rooms), I went from having four full bookshelves to one partially full bookshelf now nicely decorated with dust-free books, wooden bookends and a few knick knacks.

Suddenly I found myself with an empty wall that was badly in need of some art.

I had already made two paintings to brighten up the bathroom, here’s one of them. I didn’t have time for painting and was out of ideas for something quick but had been having fun creating some small Zendalas that were about 8″ x 8″ square. I put them into some inexpensive frames and proudly hung them on the wall to fill the blank space.

My mom, who is mostly loving and supportive, can sometimes say something so shockingly mean that I look at her with mouth agape. I had told her about hanging some of my Zentangle-inspired art on the wall and she asked to see it. We walked back to the bedroom, I pointed and said, “There they are.” She took one look at them and said, “Why didn’t you hang some REAL ART on the wall?” Really, I promise, that is what she said. I was 47 years old at the time but all the the little 3 year old artist could hear was, “I am not good enough, I will never be good enough to please you.”

how to be creative

My mother has an MFA in Sculpture. I guess that means she makes REAL ART. Everything else is… WHAT?? CRAP??

That moment was a tremendous turning point for me. And so the healing with art continues. I realized that I no longer cared what she thinks or what you think about my creations. I am in it just for the sake of creating. When I make art I feel alive. I love the creative process and the joy it brings. I don’t need anyone’s approval. I also stopped comparing my creativity to anyone else’s. I am not trying to start a business as an artist.

I finally acknowledged that I am a creative being, from the inside out. I approach my life with a love of color and appreciation for how things are made. I like REAL art and I like crafts. I like REAL literature and pulp fiction. I like documentaries and bad sci-fi movies. I like homemade napkins from my mother-in-law just as much as the gorgeous handcrafted silver earrings in my closet or the beautiful pastel landscape on my bedroom wall.

For me, remembering how to be creative was about embracing how creativity makes me feel. Sometimes it’s writing my blog. Other times it’s arranging a platter of raw vegies into a veritable rainbow that reminds me of that new box of crayons. Creativity is a way of approaching the mundane, every day tasks and the all too brief moments spent in my craft room. I find creative inspiration everywhere.

What’s stopping you? What can you do to remember how to be creative? Are you willing to acknowledge that you are a creative being? What will it take to get you excited about the crayons, the watercolors and the colored pencils again?

If you find that you need some guidance and support in your journey towards creativity, check out my HeartWise Sister Circle. Join us for a free 30 day trial in March. Get your journal and crayons ready, let’s have some creative fun and remember who we are.



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  1. Nanette Levin on March 6, 2013 at 5:37 am

    You make a great point, Minette, the being creative doesn’t necessarily have to involve a paint brush or pencil. People don’t get why I enjoy cooking so much. To me, it’s a wonderful creative outlet. Gardening is another. Even organizing can be an inventive and fun activity. I guess it depends a lot on the perspective you take as you tackle tasks.

  2. Denise Michaels on March 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm


    I’m impressed with your art. I love putting color, texture, pattern and shine together when it comes to fashion and home decor. But I’m completely clueless when it comes to creating art – whether you call it arts & crafts from Joann’s or Michaels or “real art” as your Mom said.

    I have no clue.

    Ahhhhhh…. but give me some time and a laptop to write on – and I’m in Seventh Heaven. I may start out with no idea of what I’m going to do – but I always end up with something that pleases me. Happy, happy combinations of words that make me feel good and I hope make readers feel good, too.

  3. Janie Emaus on March 7, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I agree. Writing is like breathing for me.

  4. […] may have read my article on remembering how to be creative last week where I talk about how our self-judgement and doubt often stems from what we are told […]

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