Qualified to Create

qualified to createCreativity is a constant whisper inside us all. As artists it is our job to hunt for the whisper, listen closely once found, then bring it to the surface and encourage it to roar. Many people make the mistake of believing that they are not creative, but this simply isn’t true. Just because something because gemstones are buried in a mine doesn’t mean they can’t be excavated.

Individuality, inspiration, and imagination are already swirling in your atoms. I admit there are days when I put off the important in pursuit of procrastination, but this merely makes me humann. By approaching creativity with planned consideration, I ensure I’m able to draw the most from inside me.

Here are four methods to help you pull the most from your creative mind.

1) Concentrate. Life has plenty of distractions, and seemingly more so with every new year. In my neighborhood, I have to deal with dogs barking, car alarms blaring, the tamale lady hollering, “Tamales! Tamales y chaparatos!” along with the occasional unexpected visitor or silence splitting phone call – just a few of the many things that regularly mar my concentration. Torn from my flow, I find it all too easy to abandon creative pursuits and retreat to my paid work for the remainder of the day. Some of these distractions cannot be avoided. Many can. By reducing the number of possible distractions, I am sharpening my focus and widening the net to capture my creativity.

2) Prepare. I used to sit at my desk, stare at the blank page, and imagine I’d be infused with inspiration by osmosis alone. Now with the need for a mind in constant motion, I try prepare for the creativity of the coming day a full sunrise ahead of time. If there’s a particular subject I’m interested in or know I’ll be tackling, I do all I can to read up on the topic the day before. I saturate my mind with these fresh ideas, sometimes even swimming with them in my sleep, submerged in the morning with a new strategy to let them spill and slowly spread across the page.

3) Let go. The bright white of the blank page or empty canvas can feel more like a brick wall whose apex you can only imagine. When you find yourself feeling lost and standing at the base of the bricks, start moving the pen across the page or your fingers across the keyboard. It really is that simple. Start with the word “the” and then keep on going. Don’t worry about the words. It’s far more important to find your flow.

4) Embrace your limitations. Inspiration can strike at any moment and know matter how many times you tell yourself you won’t forget, the odds are not in your favor. Don’t allow an amazing idea to catch you unprepared. The more you coax your creativity, the more of a constant in your life it will become and the more it will try to catch you off guard. Before you know it, you will find yourself assaulted by the odd flash of creativity in the most unlikely places; the shower, red lights, the grocery store, the zoo. You must have a regular method to gather ideas as they come, be it notebook, recorder, iphone, or receipt. For an artist, capturing your creativity is essential to your productivity. You will tell yourself you’ll remember, but with life always raining a million things inside our minds, we must have a bucket to catch the overflow.

Many people believe they aren’t qualified to create. This is like believing we aren’t licensed to breathe. I used to be the same, but I no longer believe I need credentials to create. Now I know to nurture the creative seed inside you, all you have to do is try.

Collective Inkwell Community Question: Do you feel qualified to create?

11 responses to Qualified to Create

  1. Kim

    Another great post, and so true. Working on a blog is a regular exercise in creativity and I’m enjoying mine immensely for just that purpose- it’s a creative writing outlet.

    Kim’s last blog post..Comments

  2. janice

    I think we all create as naturally as we breathe. Our lives are works of art in progress, from the food we cook, the clothes we choose and the way we arrange our homes, to the narratives of our days – the routes we walk, the dialogues we co-create, the sensations and soulmates we seek out. So it makes sense to me to see every moment of those twenty four hours as a living work of art, waiting to be captured. My favourite bit in your post was the reminder to be open to inspiration. Like you, I write on anything from napkins to my hand if I’ve not got a note book or a quotebook with me, but even then I lose 80% of my inspiration between the moment I want to capture it and the chance to get it jotted down.

    Your emphasis on being “qualified” intrigued me. I did English at uni because I was young, had good grades in English at school and never really gave it much thought. The one thing no-one has ever taught me was how to write. Even as a child, I wouldn’t have paid any attention even if someone had told me how to. I twigged very early on that every teacher I ever had had their own ideas on the subject. I decided a very long time ago to develop my own ideas by reading and writing every chance I got. I write how I want to. At uni I learned how others wrote, but I reckon to find your own voice, you simply need to live, love, keep learning and keep reading and writing.

    janice’s last blog post..How to Breathe Life Into Your Writing

  3. Ana V. Rios

    I definitely feel qualified to create, but I did not always feel this way. I stopped writing for many years but have focused now writing every day, no matter what it is. I started my two blogs to discipline myself to write and create.

  4. Davina

    Hi Sean. “Step away from the keyboard,” I always say. Doesn’t always work EITHER! Sometimes an idea is marinating and there’s nothing to do but let it. If I try too hard it only makes things worse. I suppose that’s when it helps to have some other “distractions” to move on to while this is happening.

    Davina’s last blog post..To Smile A Smile

  5. Sean

    Kim: So true! I can say without a doubt that I’m a far better writer now than a year ago, if for no other reason than the daily exercise of blogging keeps the writing muscles taut.

    Janice: I have a good friend who is a professional chef by trade. He pours himself into everything he creates yet is loathe to call himself an artist. I do like his compromise however. He refers himself as a carpenter, there to assemble the elements with craftsmanship. Fair enough, but it’s to-mato ta-mato in my eyes.

    Vered: Boy do I hear you. I’ve been so jumbly lately with a ton of business writing that I’ve had to do, I just have to be willing to sit down and slog through a rough draft of something just so that the creative gets done. You can always go back, but only if you start.

    Davina: Reading is good, or even mindless TV sometimes. I am often forced from the keyboard by the other orbiting duties of life. But your right, the ideas rarely disappear. They just keep on rattling around until I’m ready to revisit.

  6. Kool Aid

    I am the worse at getting ideas where/when I can’t write them down. Mostly I think of them in the car while I’m actually driving and it’s hard to scramble around for pen and paper without crashing me and the kids so I try and repeat it to myself over and over.

    It never really works. I have a horrible memory and even the little everyday chores I have to write down in a list or I’ll get myself distracted and forget something, so remembering a cool idea or thought for a blog post, writing or artwork almost never happens for me.

    One of the few non-distractions for me, though, is music. I love to listen to music even if it’s just in the background, when I’m creating. It’s always been that way for me. All through art school, I had music playing somewhere – either headphones or a nearby radio – but the style of music would sometimes dictate how my creativity ran. However, if I’m “working” on something (like researching for homeschool topics) or reading, I can’t listen to music – it’s too distracting. The flow of the music or the lyrics draw my concentration away from whatever I’m working on.

    Kool Aid’s last blog post..First day of school

  7. Sean

    Write a writing: Mick knew what he was talking about. This is especially true in fiction. I love to totally surrender to the story, see where it’s going to go, and then pull myself back into reality for a sharp edit. Few things are more rewarding as a writer.

    Kool Aid: In the last year I’ve listened to less music than I ever have in my life. I’ve tried to listen to music while writing, but I can’t for the life of me seem to manage it. Since my minutes are all spent writing or with family right now, it means I’ve heard almost no new music (the new Em album got two spins only) and none of my old faves. I can’t wait for life to settle. I miss the harmonies for sure.

    Sean’s last blog post..How to Think Like a Black Belt in Parenting

  8. Writer Dad

    I think that’s it – we feel as though we need some sort of license to submit. As if only “real artists” can create art worthy of circulation. Yet I’m sure some of the world’s most widely passed art was made by people who didn’t consider themselves artists at all.

    Writer Dad’s last blog post..These Are Our Balloons

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