Updated: May 15, 2020
This is my first blog post EVER! I have been trying to think about what to write for quite some time, thinking about what might be useful to other creatives out there and how I could create a blog which might change some perceptions about being creative. I could easily just give you a pretty boring account of my own personal practice, but that seems a little too indulgent....and besides you can go to my Instagram page and scroll till your hearts delight for that!
So here's my plan of action; Each week I am going to give you some CREATIVE AUNTY advice, tips, musings, general chit chat, inspiring stories and other stuff that comes to my generally confuddled brain....in the hopes that by sharing what I have come to learn about being creative and what others have taught me, we might all have a little less fear, anxiety and dread, when it comes to being arty!
So here we go!
I am going to start with one of the most electrifying people of all time ( If I could interview anyone from history, she would be right up there!), Dr. Nina Simone...
NO FEAR! that's right you heard it, now go and practice it! Easier said than done......
What I love about this clip is not just Nina Simone's wonderful introspection and insight, but also the fact that she gets across, in just a few words, how hard it is to have no fear.
Fear in any aspect of life is a huge factor in stopping us from doing things, sometimes it even stops me coming out my front door....so it's not an easy obstacle to overcome. Creativity is something that so many people are absolutely terrified of. I meet people with fears surrounding their creativity every week, and yes, I also get scared about my own creativity. Creativity can make us feel vulnerable, exposed and downright frightened. How many people have you met that have said, "oh no, I'm not a creative person"?
Well here's the most horror inducing answer. YES, YOU ARE CREATIVE!
That answer probably induces more fear in people than it actually helps. When I say that to people, I usually get a look of, "oh lord, please don't ask me to sit down and do a drawing". I am guilty of using this phrase way too often, and it's only as I started to think back to when I was younger that I realise how scary it can be when someone just blurts out "YOU ARE CREATIVE". In fact, I remember very clearly the sweat that would magically appear on my forehead when people would encourage me to throw away my fear and just hop into creative situations. That's some damn scary poop people! It's like telling someone who has never tightrope walked before, to take to the high wire!
So, a more useful question to ask someone that is fearful about being creative might be, what scares you about being creative?
If we ask this question, we might come up with some interesting answers and perhaps find some doors that could be opened up and lead us towards creativity. I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but what it will do is show you that your fears can be broken down, and they can be overcome...with some patience.
So let's break this down a little bit. Here are some common things people tell me when they say they are not creative people;
* I haven't trained as an artist
* I can't draw
* I am scared of people seeing/judging me
* I'm not really into "Art"
* I don't understand "Art"
* I don't have time to be creative
* Someone (normally a teacher), told me I was no good at "Art"
* I don't have the resources/ money
.......and there are many many more! and all of them are based around fear. But what's important to remember is fear can be overcome, and every little step you take to overcome it will eventually lead you to become more creative, confident and fulfilled.
If we go back to the video of Nina Simone, you will notice that she says "lots of children have no fear". I have seen this in a lot of children, especially very young children, up to the age of 4, for example. Give them a pencil and a piece of paper, and they will scribble and draw until their heart's delight. Of course, this is not true for all children, however, we can observe in children the innate ability to express themselves without hindrance, judgement or fear in many different aspects of their lives. It is only as we start to become aware of ourselves, the people and the world around us, that we become more vulnerable to embarrassment, self-judgment and fear. This is how creative fear and indeed all fear begins, and it can stay with us for a lifetime if we don't challenge it.
But there's always a way back to creativity because it simply never leaves us. No matter what age you are, and no matter how long you have believed you are not a creative person, there is something you need to know...Humans are innately creative. Just look around your living room, have you decorated it? Just look at your choice of clothes, have you chosen to wear a certain style or colour pattern? just look at the most mundane things in your life, and then ask yourself, how would I exist without some amount of creativity and sense of creation, design, colour, visualisation, planning, dreaming....fantasising! More things are creative than we think, and if we can start to understand that, then it becomes not such a scary thing to be creative. You don't have to call yourself an 'Artist' to be creative, you just have to be a human.
A really helpful book around the subject of fear and creativity is 'Big Magic', by Elizabeth Gilbert...I highly recommend it for anyone that wants to do some further reading on the subject, and for further insight into finding ways around creative fear. You can find it on Audible or Amazon. Its a really easy read, accessible and not academic in the slightest!
Next time CREATIVE AUNTIE will get to grips with some of the practical solutions to getting around creative fear, and how I have learnt to let go of some of my own personal fears!
CREATIVE AUNTY over and out xxxx
Benjamin Martin: https://www.instagram.com/benjaminimpressions/