What is the secret to being creative?
Some people believe that creative talent is a gift that is only offered to a privileged few. Others believe that creativity is something that can be developed through years of practice and perseverance. What do you think?
In her book, “The Artist’s Way” Julia Cameron describes creativity and art as a return to our original path from which so many of us have buried under years of neglect. We end up ignoring our creativity because it is seen as unimportant to daily life. We are told to “grow up” and give up our childish dreams.
“Most of us are not raised to actively encounter our destiny. We may not know that we have one. As children, we are seldom told we have a place in life that is uniquely ours alone. Instead, we are encouraged to believe that our life should somehow fulfill the expectations of others, that we will (or should) find our satisfactions as they have found theirs. Rather than being taugh to ask ourselves who we are, we are schooled to ask others. We are, in effect, trained to listen to others’ versions of ourselves. We are brought up in our life as told to us by someone else! When we survey our lives, seeking to fulfill our creativity, we often see we had a dream that went glimmering because we believed, and those around us believed, that the dream was beyond our reach. Many of us would have been, or at least might have been, done, tried something, if… If we had known who we really were.”
“Making a piece of art may feel a lot like telling a family secret. Secret telling, by its very nature, involves shame and fear. It asks the question, “What will they think of me once they know this?”
“Blocked creatives like to think they are looking at changing their whole life in one fell swoop. This form of grandiosity is very often its own undoing. By setting the jumps too high and making the price tag too great, the recovering artist sets defeat in motion. . . Creative people are dramatic, and we use negative drama to scare ourselves out of our creativity with this notion of wholesale and often destructive change. Fantasizing about pursuing our art full-time, we fail to pursue it part-time—or at all.”
If you’re interested, I wrote an earlier article about this book for our Artist’s Bookshelf series. It includes many of my favorite quotes along with a personal story about how this book gave me the courage to become a writer.
“The Artist’s Way” is available at your local bookstore and at Amazon.com