Sunday, March 28, 2010

Living the Creative Life

Recently, a former student of mine, asked me for advice on living the creative life in the “real world.” I believe that some people can’t help being creative in their everyday life. This particular young woman is one of them. Whether your occupation is a bank teller, a lawyer, a truck driver, or a food server, you are the one who is ultimately responsible for choosing whether or not your life is a creative one.

Making a living in the creative life is a different story. I suppose it depends on your definition of creativity. Some people make a living doing other people’s tax returns, and they like what they do and that’s entirely enough creativity for one day, thank you very much. But maybe they’re not entirely crazy about their work, so when they go home they need to build some furniture. Or spend the evenings painting sunsets. Or they play guitar, or play with clay. I truly believe everyone needs a creative outlet. If you get your paycheck from that outlet…FANTASTIC! But if not, it doesn’t mean you should live without creativity in your life.

Photo by laffy4k
Don’t let your “occupation” define you. If you work as a cashier, doesn’t mean you’re not a musician. If you clean other people’s houses for a living, doesn’t mean you’re not a painter…you get where I’m going with this?

In Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, she recommends you take yourself on a date once a week. I love this idea. I know many of you will find this difficult because your schedules are already so crammed. But if you can carve out the time to do something YOU want to do…sit and look at the ocean, curl up in a bookstore with the new novel you’ve been wanting to read, go grab yourself a cup of really, really good coffee and just sit…don’t talk, don’t listen…just be with yourself. Believe it or not, this is a creative thing to do. We’re all so wrapped up in our day-to-day life we lose the artist inside ourselves. Go find your inner artist. She is there, trust me. And she wants to hang out with you from time to time. So go buy yourself a box of Crayolas and have at it!

Please let me know what sorts of thing you do to tap into your creative self.


Lisa said...

First of all, that crayon photo is beyond awesome. I love my Crayola's, and scribbling in crayon seems like the rawest form of artistic expression.

I am not an art student, but I appreciate all things messy and colourful, so I like to think I am an artist at heart. Thanks for the encouragement that creativity is not just for those who make money with their art.

Amber Rae said...

I love this. I shall be taking your advice.

Anonymous said...

Great crayon construction. My creative outlet: Lately I like to write limericks, as well as stories about made up people in my family.
For instance, have you heard about my uncle Boris, who opened the first MacDonald's in Russia? Great article with a lot of encouragement to us people in the creative closets. -- MikeB

James Rogers said...

Debbie, I really love this piece. You are so right about encouraging people to explore their creative side regardless of their occupation. I love to write, play my guitar, and explore other artistic mediums from time to time. I would go insane without these outlets. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!