On Creativity | The Collective

Each month I invite a small group of photographers, writers, and creatives to share their thoughts on a particular topic with our community. My hope is that this series provides a way for others to connect with multiple thoughts and opinions in one blog post. 

It's rare that a single individual has the answer that every one else is looking for, but it's possible that through the power of a collective, through sharing our wisdom and being vulnerable, we can get a few steps closer. 

This month I asked:

"What advice do you have for someone who says they aren't creative?"

online photography mentor

You are thinking too much.  Stop editing.  Stop thinking that what you are creating isn’t good enough or doesn’t compare.  Your expression of creativity is never going to look like the friend who writes fiction, your sister who paints, the neighbour who has a knack for interior design or the other photographer in your city shooting a similar style.  These kinds of comparisons just immobilize us into not doing anything.  Not creating.  Not making mistakes.  Not growing. 
The beauty of creativity is that you can’t get it wrong.  Being creative isn’t the product of writing, painting or photography.  It is the act of making something new.  A thought, a movement, an object that has never been made before.  And if it comes from inside you, guaranteed no one else has produced this exact creation.   This is something every one of us is capable of doing.  Be brave, explore what makes you unique and start creating.  
Catherine Unrau Woelk | Website | Facebook

online photography mentor
I have several friends that have told me they're not creative over the years, just as you might think of yourself. But I see the creativity they have in so many ways- through their clothing choices, or cooking abilities, or eloquent writing and speaking. Each creative in their own way. Being creative, to me, just means we're trying something- maybe courageously something we've never done before; or maybe something we've honed into a craft. The creative pursuit gives us enjoyment, meaning, and beauty. So, if you find yourself desiring to cultivate creativity, I'd suggest just starting with something you think you may be interested in! Try several things. Keep at it. Your muse will show up. You will eventually find the thing that moves you, and frees you, and lets you lose yourself in the midst of this creating.
Sarah Harrigan | Website | Facebook

online photography mentorCreativity comes right down to originally and uniqueness of personal expression. We have all been created by the most masterful creator to be so vastly different than those that surround us. We all, I believe, have the capacity for creative greatness in our own individual way. Embrace love, life and beauty and you are bound to create.
Erin Nowak | Website | Facebook

online photography mentor
I think that a lot of people get caught up in a misunderstanding of what creativity is. It is not the same as artistic ability. So I would say that of course we are each creative, once we open to our minds to a greater interpretation of what creativity is. It is a new way of looking at something, a way of seeing something differently. We use this ability all the time, to solve problems in our lives, and we can get better at it with practice. Sometimes using our creativity results in a painting, or a poem. Sometimes, though, it results in a soup using only the ingredients in our fridge. Or a way of entertaining a fussy baby while we are on the phone using what we find in our purse. I would challenge any mother, in particular, who claimed not to be creative. My greatest peaks of creativity have been reached not in any art I have practiced, but in raising infant twins and needing to use MacGyver-like skills to accomplish things which called for more hands than I was given. I would say what I say to my eight year old when she insists that she cannot do something, even though I know she can, "This is a lie that your brain is telling you. The only thing stopping you is you. So just let go and try. If it doesn't work the first time, learn something and try again.
Gwen Papp | Facebook

online photography mentor
Being creative is often thought of as you either have it or you don’t but I believe everyone has a little creativity in them.  It is just a matter of being able to tap into that part of ourselves and be open to what it shows us.  To me, creativity comes from a deep place inside and it can be difficult to allow ourselves to feel that creativity, especially as adults.  With photography, while it is great to know all the rules you’re supposed to follow, some of my best creative images come when I break the rules. For someone who is not feeling creative, I would say to step out of your comfort zone and experiment.  Try a new technique you’ve seen or a new lens you haven’t used in awhile.  Experiment a bit and I guarantee you will feel creative.
Stacey Markel | Website | Facebook

I’ve had this conversation several times in my life with different people and I always think the same way.  What makes a person feel like they just aren’t creative?  If you have a brain, you are creative.  Its right there, you just have to tap into it.  It’s a way of thinking, believing, and existing.  Who cares if you’re not an artist.  That doesn’t mean you’re not creative. I think the only difference between a person who lives creatively and a person who doesn’t see their own creativity is “intuition”.  You have to act on those intuitive thoughts, and not push them away.  You can’t be afraid to think differently!  Maybe Dr. Seuss says it best?  “Think left and think right, and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up, if only you try!”  Yeah, that about sums it up.
Casey McCauley | Website | Facebook


“Creative”…”creativity”…those are such loaded words, aren’t they?? For some reason most people feel like they either ARE creative…or they aren’t. There really doesn’t seem to be much gray area there. The funny thing is, I would consider myself in the “NOT creative” group. I am a pretty obsessively type A personality. I crave organization and structure. I make lists and plans. I tend to follow rules and to do things “the correct way”… That doesn’t leave much freedom for creativity, does it? So, while I really wouldn’t consider myself all that creative, I am highly drawn to the creativity of others. I love music and art, literature and poetry. I am inspired by their creativity. I also love to experiment…and explore. I love to play. Combining these things—my love for arts and my spirit of playful adventure, I have been able to push the limits of my own creativity…and maybe actually gain a little bit of creativity for myself in the process. In my personal photography, I really using the editing process to play and experiment.  When a piece feels right to me, then I know I’m done. It makes me happy. It makes my heart skip a happy little beat. While others may start to believe that I am a tiny bit creative, I know, really, I am just very good at playing… and trying things…and starting over again and again until I feel my heart skip its familiar little beat. So, my advice to anyone who is not feeling like “a creative”… discover what inspires you. Allow yourself to be adventurous in the “art of playing”. Be persistent. Create with the goal of making your own heart happy…and soon your creativity will know no limits!

Jan Tyler | Website | Facebook

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