Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Considering Creativity (Guest Post)

I have a confession to make. 

I can’t draw. 

No seriously, I really can’t. Well, that’s not quite true, I can draw. I can pick up a piece of paper, and a pencil and create something that reasonably resembles a flower-at least, reasonably well enough to satisfy my three year old niece. 

I also cannot design on the computer, nor can I really write all together that well, although I’ve created some passable poetry in the past – good enough to get me a decent grade, at least in High School English.
I sing, but don’t write new music, and I make jewelry but nothing anyone would buy. Oh, and I don’t wear turtlenecks and little horned rimmed glasses….at least, not on a regular basis.

So, why do I consider myself to be creative? Not just creative, but passionately, intensely creative?

One of the funny things about Creativity is that it’s like a muscle. It needs to be flexed. It feels uncomfortable at first. Things that you create come out like half-formed monsters.  You may look at these early attempts like I do, and think that they are absolutely terrible.  If you stop here, just like stopping a workout program, you may decide that you just aren’t Creative. 

Many people do. 

I hear it all the time “Oh, you do such cool things, I’m just not that creative”

But Creativity is there for all of us, barring any damage or illness that impedes the right side of the brain. 

Right now I hear you saying the same thing “Oh, she’s a fine one to talk…I’m just not that Creative.”

Perhaps it would help if I took a minute to define my experience of Creativity. It is not about Creating something that people will buy. It’s not even about Creating something that I particularly like

When I create something, be it a new soap, or a pair of earrings, or a new cheese, or a new poem or written piece, it’s about the act of creation. It’s the act of taking something that wasn’t there before, and willing it into being.

When I am there in that space, I’m focusing solely on the act of creating. I’m not worrying about the bills, or the thing that my mother said last Tuesday, or even my own feelings of insecurity and incompetence.  

Even if it’s something that I’m not physically creating, such as the development of a process or an idea, creativity is what makes me think to reach deep into my toolkit to find the solution to the problem. Creativity is that little niggling voice inside my head that says – what if things were different, what if we had this, said this, or did this. 

And then, creativity is about letting go. 

It’s about letting the words flow onto the page without self-editing (like I’m doing right now). It’s about letting your fingers fall onto the piano keys and not caring whether they hit the “right” notes. It’s about forming that ball of clay or thinking about that new idea and not letting your own internal critic stop the music before it begins. 

That’s right – even creative-types have our own internal critic. You know, that painful little spirit that says “You’re gonna look stupid” or something like “Wow, you really bungled that one.” Sometimes it can be really excruciatingly painfully loud too. 

It’s immensely scary to put something creative out there for public view. It can feel like completely baring your soul, your innermost secrets, to others.  

Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to walk around naked than show your latest work.

People who flex their creative muscle are not immune to this in the least.

It’s not necessarily about silencing your inner critic. Many of us have tried to do that for a long time and completely and utterly failed. 

For me, it’s about realizing that regardless of whether I create or not, whether I sing or not, whether I perform or not – sooner or later I’m going to look like an idiot anyway. I’m going to sound like an idiot sooner or later, and say the wrong thing, or fail in some way and I’m okay with that.

So flex your creative muscle. Make something small. Make something you’re not proud of – it’s okay. Jump out of the airplane and land on the big squishy mat of failure. It’s really okay. Make something else. Sing a different tune. Play a different instrument. Every single thing that you do that is different than the ordinary thing to do flexes that muscle. 

And you’ll get better. 

I promise.

And then you can tell the story of how you became Creative.

Guest Author, Bevin Hernandez
 About the author: Bevin is a self-described Geek Girl, Project Manager, Mom of 3, and Farmette Lover. I met Bevin when she was working at Penn State as an interactive project manager who was attempting to herd geeks, creative-types, and suits. Now she is on a new path where she attempts to herd goats, chickens, and her boys. 

She's always up for a chat on Twitter, or you can find out about her farm exploits at Fruit Tart Caprines.


  1. Beautifully put Bevin! I agree with creative types having an inner critic. Especially when you do it for a living. But infusing creativity in everything you do keeps life interesting. Great job on the guest post!

  2. It is funny how the perfect post is always there when I need it! Thanks for being here. Hugs

  3. I absolutely LOVED this post. So true & funny (I love the part about it sometimes seeming easier to walk around naked than show your newest creation). I need to figure out a way to mark this so I can come back to this again & again! Thank you for making my Monday morning!

  4. Thank you!! I wish you happy floppy mat failures, out of which will be born your greatest successes.

    And honestly, I need to reread it myself some days - we all need reminders.

    *hugs to you all - you are whole, you are loved, and you are Creative*

  5. Very nicely put. I stopped in from the Blog hop and really appreciated this posts. I am struggling with my creativity with my home and being a bit "outside" the norm. I would appreciate if you checked out my latest post about it....

  6. I love flexing my creative muscles...I think it is what keeps me truckin' through the hard times and what keeps me happy during the good times.

  7. I was reading one of your posts and at the bottom where it says you might like this i clicked on this post and i think its so great.I think this would apply to me everyday,
    Thank you!


Ooh,a comment! How delightful.


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