Wanna Be More Creative? Start Creating.

I think most people would say the following statement is true:

People who are creative create.

But I think we’ve mostly got it backwards—I think it’s quite the opposite:

People who create are creative.

This may seem like a subtle difference, but I think it’s the key to being creative and sustaining a creative practice. Let me explain . . .

If I had to give you one ultimate truth about the creative process that I’ve learned through making art regularly, it would be: Art leads to more art, meaning: the more art you make, the more ideas you get for more art. This is true with any creative process. There’s just no way to stop it from happening: when you’re making something you inevitably get ideas to make other things because your mind naturally thinks up new ideas and solutions, especially when you’re in a creative state of mind.

Creative ideas are often talked about like these lightning bolts that come out of the blue. We’ve all heard some version of a story about the creative genius who got her/his career-defining idea in the shower, on the bus, while walking—in general while doing nothing. This might lead you to think that if you were really creative, then you too would get these lightning bolt ideas. And if you haven’t, that must mean you’re not really creative. The part that is being left out of the story is that said “genius” had been spending hours and days of his or her life creating and therefore mentally immersed in the creative process. They had basically been cultivating a little nest where creative ideas could incubate. The particular circumstances of when their lightning bolt idea arrived is less important than the fact that they were constantly opening themselves to ideas through the creative process.

This opening is THE KEY to being creative. All you need to do is sit down at your desk, stand at your easel, open you’re notebook, hold your guitar. Then, start playing. Some days you will just mess around and won’t find any real direction, other days you will start to find a lead and follow it, and then still other days you will catch on fire with a new idea and start jamming on it heartily. All of this is part of the creative process, whether you’re a practiced maker or completely new at your craft. There will be days when you feel like you are wandering around in the dark. But if you make time to be creative, and you show up, and you keep showing up over and over again, the ideas will ALWAYS come. It’s just a matter of time.

I regularly forget all of this, but I was reminded of it yesterday two times—first when I sat down to write, and second when I sat down to draw. I had no ideas before either of these actions, but when I just let myself put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard some surprising ideas came out that I never would have arrived at had I waited for an idea to come first {for example the drawings at the top of this post}. This is how most of my ideas have arrived—as happy accidents, or as “what ifs?” while I’m making something else. If you trust in this, and keep rededicating yourself to the process, you will have all you ever need for an entire life of creativity.

Here are some specific pointers to help you with this process—

When you sit down:

~Throw ideas of “good” and “bad” out the window
~Let it be play
~Be open to any idea that comes
~Just begin! A drawing starts with one line. A story starts with one word.

Happy Making!


6 Responses to “Wanna Be More Creative? Start Creating.”

  1. 1 linda December 6, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    a nice kick in the butt reminder :P thanks!

  2. 3 Lis Harvey December 16, 2011 at 6:58 am

    I love this post, Nicole. And came to the site today to find an excuse to tell you I’m passing along your “Winter Poem” (in card form) to several of Penn’s teachers. Nothing quite captures the bliss of winter vacation than this collection of syllabubs! (Yes, bubs.) A very merry blue winter full of making, to you! xox lis

  3. 5 Calamity Valentine February 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    That is too true! If you wait for the idea of the century before you start drawing, you’ll never draw. I used to do that and wasted so many hours because I wanted to make a “perfect drawing” instead of just having fun and make art… Anyway, very great post!

  1. 1 2012′s Top Ten Blog Posts | Ruth Armitage Trackback on January 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm

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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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