Creativity: Getting Started

“Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been exploring creativity: what it is, who it’s for, and some of the common myths surrounding it. This week, I’m addressing how to get started in a creative endeavor. My hope is that you’ve read my previous posts and have decided that being creative is something you want in your life. However, maybe you don’t know where to start, despite your desire to act. You’re in luck. Today’s post is all about getting started.

I’ll start by saying that there’s no One Way nor is there a Right Way to get started on being creative. The simplest solution is that you figure out what you want to do and then get started doing that thing. However, you may not know what your desired creative outlet is. That’s okay. You can figure that out pretty easily. If you do know what you want to do for your creative pursuit, your next step getting started. If you’re looking to paint, buy a basic set of paints, brushes, and paper or small canvases. Devote some time each week and get to practicing! That’s the short version of it: take action, admire your progress, and repeat.

If you’re not certain yet what you’d like to do as a creative outlet, have no fear. That’s what the remainder of this post is about. Again, there’s no right or wrong answer. Also: if you choose something and decide later to change your focus or add in something else, that’s perfectly fine. This is a reason why I advise people to start small on their investments in equipment and supplies for their creative outlets. Don’t invest heavily unless you’re sure that this is something you’re truly interested in and committed to (and also, only if you have the funds to do so).

If you need help figuring out what you want to do as a creative outlet, look no further than inside yourself. No one will have the answer but you. I suggest starting by listing creative activities that you currently enjoy, have recently enjoyed, used to enjoy in the past, or things that just sound interesting to you. Take your time with the brainstorming process and be honest about what sounds fun and interesting to you. Focus on things that light you up. Don’t get tripped up right now about the fact that a harp is expensive, if in fact playing the harp is something you desire. This point is all about connecting with what feels good to you and what lights you up.

Now that you have a list, the best course of action is to select what seems most interesting to you and start pursuing it. Invest in the minimum viable amount of supplies that’ll get you started and take action. If you can get to the store this evening or this weekend, do it. Even better: if you already own the supplies you need to get started, start today. Devote anywhere from five minutes to an hour getting acquainted with the supplies and what you want to do with them. Spend time connecting with the activity so that you can start associating it with enjoyment and a way you want to spend your time.

You may have noticed a theme here: action. Action is the key. You can’t be creative if you only think about doing something. You must take action and create something to be creative. Stop procrastinating and take action: pick up your paint brush, purchase that new writing pen, or borrow a tutu, if you need to. If you find yourself stymied in inaction then it’s time to get real with yourself. Think about why you’re not doing what you say you want to do for yourself. Be honest. Is it about time, self-worth, motivation, or something else? If you want to make real changes in your life and see results, action is needed. Besides being courageous and being honest, action is something that’s required for real changes in life, including being creative.

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In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be addressing how to find time for creativity, how to maintain motivation, fears that might crop up and how to process them, and a whole host of other topics. Today I just wanted to get you started by making it clear that action is your next step. Beginning a deliberate and regular creative practice is the very first step in being creative. You can do it. I know you can. You’re worthy and you deserve it, just by virtue of deciding this is how you want to spend your time. Believe in yourself. Trust your feelings and your process. Take one action today and commit to another tomorrow, and then keep going. This is what it takes to be creative: simply creating.