Think You Aren’t Creative?

So you think you aren’t creative, huh? Well, sorry, but I’m not buying that. Everyone is creative on some level. It’s in our DNA, replicated from the CREATOR who made us. You just haven’t found your particular creative spark, that’s all.

People think I’m good at many things–painting, writing, repurposing old things. And I am.

Now.

But I used to be terrible at all those things. What I had was a vision for how I could one day be good, if I was willing to work hard enough, and most of all, fail.

Yep, I said the F word. FAIL.

You see, with both painting and writing I refused to give up, even though I had no real reason to continue. In fact, I had every reason to stop. I felt guilty for spending my hard-earned money on expensive paint supplies, especially when I painted horrible paintings. But something in me kept whispering “You can do this.” So I kept painting over them, over, and over, and over.

My first short stories were awful and got rejected a lot. But I kept hearing the same little whisper. “I want you to do this.” So I kept on. Five books later I’m still working on my craft.

And I can’t tell you how many small art projects went in the trash.

Lori Putnam, one of my favorite oil painters and artistic heroes, did the same thing. She kept painting, even when everyone around her told her she would never be an artist. Ten years later she is one of the most celebrated plein air painters in the U. S.

So don’t tell me you aren’t creative. All of us are. What you need is courage, my friend, not necessarily to be a great talent. You have to have basic skills and and eye and ear for what looks good. But the rest are skills that can be learned. After all, my undergraduate degree in college was English. You need to take classes, let someone knowledgeable critique you and tell you what you are doing wrong. But most of all you have to love what you are doing enough to keep at it for a long time. Being good at it will follow. Give yourself at least three years of trying. If people still tell you your art or your writing is bad, then you can stop. And you will have my blessing.