Making Creativity a Priority

Jobs to do. Bills to pay. People to please. Who has time to create? Creativity is for those who are lucky enough to be creative for a living, or with too much time on their hands.

Creativity is seen as frivolous, or even indulgent. But being creative is integral to our sense of wellbeing.

It’s also fundamental in business. The computer or device you’re reading this on? It wouldn’t exist without creative thinking. The elements that make it easy to use and pleasing to the eye all come from creative minds.

In a survey of 324 decision-makers from big companies in the US, UK, France, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan, and Germany who influence creative software purchases, 82% of them believe there’s a strong connection between creativity and successful businesses. And this is why businesses now invest big bucks in creative development.

As a professional writer – a profession that requires creativity on a daily basis – you’d think I get my fair dose of creativity. I write every day, yes, but not for myself. And I believe there’s a difference.

Creativity for creativity's sake is making space for yourself. It’s a space to grow, connect and be mindful. It’s not about the end result, whether it be money, praise or ego. It’s about the process of showing up for what you love.

I’ve found myself leaving my creative practice to one side and forgetting why I started writing in the first place. So I needed a reminder of creativity’s importance. I found these benefits.

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The Benefits of Creativity:

  • Creativity makes you happier: We’re all busy downloading mindfulness apps. But you know what’s super mindful? Being creative. Whether it’s through writing, making music, or painting – creativity forces you to pay attention in a meditative way.

  • Creativity helps you express emotions: Emotions have a funny way of hiding from us, or we tend to stuff them down. But our mental health is more stable when we deal with feelings as they arise. Creativity is a useful tool for this. Creativity “bridges the gap between the conscious and unconscious mind.”

  • Creativity makes you smarter: Neuroimaging studies found creative thinking increases the work of particular “brain systems linked to self-generated thought and cognitive control.” These networks enhance your ability to come up with new ideas and evaluate them.

  • Creativity helps you solve problems: Creative thinking teaches you to try things you haven’t tried before. It gives you practice in making mistakes and learning from them. Being creative allows you to see beyond the obvious and seek out new solutions.

Learning from Creative Minds

The benefits of creativity are all well and good, but how do you muster up the energy to get to work? Who better to learn about creativity than from the best in the field?

To inspire you (and me) I’ve compiled my favourite quotes on creativity. And I’ve added my two cents’ worth just for good measure.

"Creativity takes courage." —  Henri Matisse

It sure does, Henri. How do you become courageous? You don’t. You call a friend! Scheduling in creativity as a social get-together takes the pressure off, and reminds you that creativity isn't meant to be serious – it’s meant to be fun! Have a scout for a workshop you and a friend can do together.

"The creative adult is the child who has survived." — Julian F. Fleron

If you have kids you’ll know what this quote means. Kids see things the way we’re supposed to see them – with wonder. When we grow up, we get bored. Nothing is of interest to us anymore. How do you get this way of seeing back? You create! Creativity is a way to channel your inner child. You begin to notice the little things again because you’re taking the time to discover. You’ll see the world from a different perspective.

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." — Sylvia Plath

I believe self-doubt is the biggest roadblock to creativity. And as always, Sylvia Plath explains it best. Fear gets in the way of anything worth doing. The fear of getting it wrong? Terrifying. But you know what’s worse than doing it wrong? Not doing it at all. The best thing about creativity is there’s no such thing as wrong or right. It’s the process of being at one with your creative process. Anything goes.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” — Stephen King

Creativity is kind of like exercise – the hardest part is right before you start. And after that? It gets easier. You just have to force yourself to show up at that writing desk, sewing machine or blank canvas and begin. The more you create, the easier ideas flow. Inspiration comes to those who are present for it.

"A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism." — Will Self

It’s easy to worry about how others will view your work. Especially if you’re thinking of bringing your art into the light. But as Will Self says, no matter what anyone says about your work, it doesn’t have the power to affect your creative life. It’s yours, and what you experience while creating can’t be ruined by anyone’s opinion.

"Creativity could be described as letting go of certainties." — Gail Sheehy

Creativity is imaginative, spontaneous and often, unplanned. You might schedule in creative time but you never really know what will happen during it. No matter how much intention you set, creative inspiration in unpredictable. This is a good life lesson. To let go of expectations and enjoy the ride.

Make Space for Creativity

Even if your job requires creativity, being creative for yourself is a whole lot different than being creative for others. It gives you time to reconnect with yourself, and reminds you of what you value. It keeps you curious and excited about your life and work.

I hope this blog inspired you to be make space for creativity. I would love to hear from you.

How do you make creativity a priority?

Comment below or get in touch