As a child, you may have yearned to play the piano at Carnegie Hall, to perform on Broadway, or to write a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Perhaps you mentioned your aspirations to someone and were met with mocking laughter or the assurance that there was no money in it.
You swallowed your creative dreams and satisfied yourself with listening to music on the radio, to reading books or watching movies.
How often have our creative selves been swept to the side, making us an observer rather than a producer of creative projects? We internalize the belief that we don’t have what it takes to make it big, and of course we don’t make it because we have hardly tried.
I say it’s time to go for it. There have never been more opportunities to express yourself and be heard. There is no proof that you will get rich, famous, or even produce anything worthwhile. What you do know is that your creative impulses aren’t going away.
You sense that there is something behind this creative urge, that expressing yourself creatively may be the missing piece to a fulfilled life.
I believe that creative expression, whether through daily creativity or through making art, is worth the effort. During years of coaching clients to bring their creative expression to light, I’ve tracked a number of benefits that people experience when regularly engaging in creative play. Added up, they contribute to a richer life.
1. Expanded sense of time. Countless artists have discussed the experience of timelessness that one encounters in the creative zone.
But we moan about not having enough time to even get into the flow. Strangely enough, when you give time to creative pursuits, you gain time. Who couldn’t use the feeling of more time?
2. Freedom. Creativity invites messiness and exploration. Here’s an opportunity to return to that feeling of freedom such as we experienced in childhood. We didn’t have to know, didn’t have to be ‘good’, in control, the expert.
When was the last time you had permission to be clueless and not care about being right or looking good?
3. Enhanced relationships. Many people fear that if they begin doing their creative work, their relationships and other priorities will suffer. They fear being so engaged in the creative zone that other responsibilities will suffer.
But when we are actively creating, we feel better about our relationships. We tend to be more generous to others. We have more to give because we have answered our urge to create.
4. Living integrity. When we are actively working on our projects, we honor our innate creativity. We live the belief that creativity does matter. This feels better than wishing we were writing, or talking about writing, but not doing it.
5. Save money. Expressing yourself can control the urge to impulse buy. Do you ever find yourself shopping out of boredom? Expressing yourself creatively can often fill the need to impulse shop.
Save money and do something creative instead of buying something you don’t really need or want.
6. Energetic, lighter quality to life. Call it a good mood. Call it a natural high. When we’ve done our creative work, we gain energy for our other responsibilities. I think this is the best reason to create – it feels frickin’ good!
Forget numbing feel-good options (TV, overeating, over-sugaring or drinking) and tap the true source of your vitality.
7. Connection with other creative people. When we are creating, we are connected to those who work in the challenging but rewarding field of artistic creativity. Pause to consider your place in the slipstream of creative history.
8. Faith and confidence in our impulses. When we create, we recognize that our work does matter even if it is not published, displayed or presented to the public. We trust our instincts and gain confidence from expressing them. This confidence carries over into decisions we make in other areas of life.
9. Honoring the source of creative ideas. Where does creative inspiration come from? Some think it is God, or other divine source. We honor the gift of creative inspiration when we listen and act on our ideas, and by doing so, we are connecting to a deeper wisdom than our own.
10. Self-knowledge and discovery. Creativity is the route to authenticity. As we create, we plumb the depths of our being, accessing what we think and believe. You may be surprised at the resources, thoughts and impulses that you discover there.
What do you gain from being creative? Share your own creative boons here.