Even if you've never before tried to create something "artistic," at your very center rests a smoldering flame of creative possibility. If you want, you can blow gently. You can prod and kindle the flame into a roar. You can harness your creativity, and share your art with the world. Here's how:
1. Find your medium.
After high school, I decided that college was the appropriate thing to do. I attended the Academy of Art, and since most of my courses were focused on working with traditional mediums, I found myself sitting before a blank canvass time and time again. For the longest time, I tried forcing myself to paint. I wanted to create wonders with the stroke of a brush.
And yet, I always ended up back at my desk, spilling stories onto paper. Finally, after kissing college goodbye and settling into my own skin, I accepted that writing was my medium of choice. Like mine, your medium could be hiding under the masks of "shoulds" and "coulds."
Take a moment to reflect on what you've always loved. What are you using when you feel the most creative and aligned with your true self? What do you create? When no one is watching, what do you turn to? Paint? Charcoal? A guitar? A notebook? Your medium can be anything. My husband feels most creative when he's creating and playing video games. My mother, when she's snapping photos. My sister, when she's baking in the kitchen.
2. Bring a journal wherever you go.
Even if writing isn't your medium, I suggest that you keep some paper and a pen handy whenever you leave the house. Often, inspiration tumbles into our world when we least expect it. Before it slips away, capture it on paper. Even if it's only a bulleted list, or scribbled words that you can hardly read. Come back to it later, when you're ready to create. Never toss out ideas, and bits of beautiful, raw life (like words spoken by strangers, a character you meet on the bus, or the shape of a cloud in the sky). Someday they will come in handy, I promise.
3. Create a sacred space.
I believe that everyone—writers, painters, creatives of any kind—should have a space where they can completely be themselves. A little nook or room that feels like an external expression of the voice that fuels their work. Entering this space is a sigh of relief. A soft smile, a subtle nestling into the atmosphere. Somehow, this space makes you feel as though you can create absolute wonders.
Any space can become sacred. Try filling the room with lovely things: cut flowers, jars of brushes and pens, maps pinned to the plaster, chalkboards where you can doodle and capture inspiration. Light candles, burn incense, play soft music. Know that whenever you enter this space, you become an artist. No matter what, it is safe. a place of pure creation.
4. Throw paint around & write run-on sentences.
Sometimes, our creativity becomes blocked by the feeling of required normalcy. We think that we must paint within the lines and structure our sentences according to textbook rule. However, no one has the right to dictate what is art, and what is not. To tear down these blocks, you can try expressing yourself explosively!
Fill balloons with paint and toss them at a white canvass. Smear colors around with bare toes. Carve something from a bit of wood that you find in the forest. Challenge the definition of art. Create something wild, unique, and new.
5. Believe that you are an artist. Declare it now, aloud.
You simply cannot create anything if you don't believe that you can. Even if you've never before pressed pen to paper or plucked at the strings of a guitar, there should be no doubt that you CAN do it. With practice, with patience, with passion, you can do anything you set your mind to. And so, I want you to declare it aloud, right now. Feel the words vibrate from your head, to your toes:
I am an artist.
You can pick your word, if you'd like. I am a writer. I am a painter. I am an actor.
Now, tell me below: how have you learned to harness your creativity? Where do you feel the most inspired? What is your medium?