"I'm not creative."

 
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“I’m not creative.” (Ps. Yes, you are)

This past school year I represented one of Stephens College Ten Ideals, Creativity. The Ten Ideals are a Stephens tradition where 10 seniors are chosen to represent the different ideals each year in a secret society called The Ten. These individuals are anonymous until the end of the year when they are revealed. Throughout the year we recognize people that embrace the ideals of leadership, support, intelligence, independence, respect, responsibility, creativity, sensitivity, courage, and belief. Being creativity, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be creative and sometimes I struggled with it. It was a battle of “Am I creative enough to BE creativity?” Sometimes I felt like the answer to that question was no. This pressure came from Instagram, my major, internship, etc. and started to consume me. By the time first semester came to a close I was having major anxiety about this. There was this pressure to constantly be creating and I was drained. I felt like I didn’t have one ounce of creativity left in me and it felt HORRIBLE. I thought how can this be happening to me? Someone trying to a make career out of just the thing that was giving me so much anxiety, creativity. I was honestly terrified of that feeling. I think as creatives we sometimes are expected to always have an idea, always be the most creative person in the room, and never feel drained because we love what we do and have fun doing it.  But the truth is, everyone feels burnt out sometimes, no matter how much you love what you do, and I had to learn to accept that and how to cope with it in a healthy (and inspiring way). I had to constantly remind myself that there is no single definition of creativity. Everyone is creative and can embrace their own version of creativity. I stopped putting this pressure on myself and told myself I do not always have to feel like I am the most creative person because I’M NOT and that is 100% okay with me.   I learned how to define MY creativity and what the ideal meant to me and kept reminding myself of that throughout the year. Being creative is not solely art or making things beautiful with your hands, but it is being able to push yourself to think differently. It is being inventive, strategic, and conscious of everything around you and using that awareness to create things that have impact.

The next time you think to yourself “I’m not creative,” remember that YOU ARE! Here are some ways to spark creativity and keep your mind fresh for new ideas and creating new things.

1.    Be curious.

I satisfy my curiosity by trying to learn something new every day. That might be through a podcast or by researching something I find interesting, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You never know where inspiration will come from and it might something you never thought of before.

2.    Challenge yourself.

A way I like to challenge myself in terms of design is giving myself a time limit for a project. Even though I am used to having constant deadlines, it feels different when you only give yourself an hour to do something and it helps me not spend too long over analyzing something. After the time period is over I stop working and come back to it later if I need to.

3.    Create an inspiration board.

Pinterest is lifeeee. I make boards for everything! I even have a board called “mood boards” for when I need an extra dose of inspo. Sometimes even just pulling some of these images and putting them together helps and inspires me.

4.    Take risks.

Get outside your comfort zone. Will projects make you uncomfortable sometimes? Most definitely. So use that to your advantage to make yourself better.

5.    Listen to a motivational podcast/TedTalk

The Daring Romantics by Lindsey Eryn

Goal Digger by Jenna Kutcher

TedTalk: How to Boost Your Creative Confidence

6.    Stop comparing yourself to others.

I will be honest…this KILLS me. It is so hard not to compare yourself to others. Do let others inspire you to become better at your craft. Don’t constantly think you aren’t good enough because you aren’t doing something the same exact way someone else is. Your creativity will never line up perfectly with someone else’s and that is okay.

7.    Surround yourself with creative people.

PSA: This is so important! Find people that inspire you, push you to become better, and give you constructive criticism. I have learned that having these supportive groups makes all the difference.

Whether you don’t think of yourself as creative or you’re just stuck in a creative rut, hopefully some of these tips will help you feel inspired. Don’t forget… you are CREATIVE!