What does it mean to live a creative life? For me, it has meant conquering fear primarily and pursuing what excites me. In my own experience and in those who share what holds them back, fear is always lurking. "Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance," says Steven Pressfield in "The War of Art." I believe we all want to create in some shape or form, it doesn't have to be painting or "artsy" stuff.
I've always been a "maker." I was making things from the time I was a young child, building and decorating a barbie house made of cardboard with rugs, wallpaper and curtains. Needlepoint and embroidery, knitting and crochet came along and then fiber arts, dying and spinning my own yarn and felting scarves. I also had a stint where I made colorful coats out of old cashmere sweaters. It wasn't until about 4 years ago that I became brave enough to try painting. For some reason that one really intimidated me, that's what "real artists" did and I wasn't one of those, I thought.
Living a creative life means experimenting, being playful, learning and thinking about what we really want to be doing in this life. "Our identity, our storyline, is created by what we repeat. It becomes what we believe," says the Headspace app. So I allowed myself to begin to dabble in painting (terrified and also thrilled in those early stages). I still could not imagine I could actually be an artist (the story I was telling myself) but I kept learning and practicing and followed artists on Instagram, took lots of Skillshare classes and kept at it. Living a creative life also means learning to manage the fear because it never goes away. It changes in intensity but it's always there in one form or another.
I believe that if one has a burning desire to create (a persistent yearning or need is how I experience it) then the capacity is there. However I have a big caveat to that, it doesn't come easily, it takes consistent effort. I love this quote by Estee Lauder, "When I thought I couldn't go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck." So if you try something and you decide you're no good and give up, well then it
could be that you don't enjoy that or it could be that you haven't worked at it enough to develop skill. This is a decision point that isn't always clear so it takes a lot of experimentation. As far as I know, no one creates something wonderful early on. We have to have lots of "time in the saddle" as my riding teacher used to say.
Whether it's flower arranging, cooking, sewing, writing, painting, fiber arts, a new business, etc. or simply bringing a creative spirit to any endeavor, we can all nurture our creative spirit. It can be as simple as asking ourselves, "what would I like to make, build or learn?" Or even, "what is a different way to approach this?" I'd love to hear what creative pursuits you're either up to or would like to add to your life. Just comment below!