The necessity of creating and creativity
Earlier this week I posted a quote of Elizabeth Gilbert’s. It’s possibly one of my favourite quotes and marked one of my most defining moments in my career, when reading the quote in her book, Big Magic. The quote simply read: “creativity is a crushing chore and a glorious mystery. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you”.
At the time of reading Big Magic, one of my biggest struggles as an artistic entrepreneur, were that creativity was my career. It was my life to breathe creativity. And yes, creativity is still part of my life. I still breathe creativity. But this time around I have a better understanding of creativity. I can even say that I have a better relationship with it. Although I believe the relationship will grow continuously. No relationship is perfect, and it involves maintenance. Or rather, watering the flower bed constantly. Maintenance sounds so hard… And creativity and maintenance don’t go well together.
Why did this quote and book change my outlook? When I was under the perception that creativity was only authentic, if it came to me like an ‘aha’ moment, I didn’t feel creative often. It made my job difficult, as I was supposed to be creative, for a living. The last thing I wanted to do was force it. Not that I’m superstitious, but forcing creativity felt like I was pushing it further away.
And then I read Gilbert’s book. The realisation that so many struggling artists suffer from major depression, anxiety and alcoholism struck like a baseball bat to the head. It made so much sense. It was true. And with that the realisation that artists secretly punish themselves for the creativity lost or missing gaps of creativity. A never-ending cycle… And I’m sure we can all agree that neither does that cocktail of depression and addiction bring forth breath of fresh creativity.
Diona Marinko from HoneyCunt podcast, mentioned in a podcast that when creativity is your daily job, you aren’t really being creative. She further goes on to explain that unless you have something outside of your job to stimulate you creatively, then you aren’t creative. I agree. The very nature of creativity means that when you create something new, it shouldn’t be something you create every day. The every day is monotonous. It is routine.
What does this mean for your business? Inventiveness and creativity centres around the idea of original thoughts, of using the imagination, and creating something new, fresh, or refreshing as a result. When it’s a chore, it hurts. Taking it from a space of monotony to a place of freedom, flexibility and strength can be uplifting.
Creativity might take practice, and that’s where stepping over that thin line of it being a chore, is where one has to be careful. Practice can also be fun. Practicing painting for instance, has never felt like a chore to me. But if I didn’t do it, then my skill level would not have increases AND I would not have come up with the visions that I have painted in the past.
How is it even possible to have a healthy relationship with creativity? It’s simple. It’s not about forcing the practice. It’s not a sprint. It’s not a marathon. It’s yoga! It’s a type of meditative state you put yourself in through moving all your body parts, and you reach mental and sometime soulful bliss through the movement. Sometimes it will take long to perfect a pose. Sometimes it will hurt to stretch and pull muscles. But as you breathe out, you stretching a little bit further each time. When you hit that meditative state, you dream. You are ultimately inventive at this stage.
The whole process of moving, is also a state of creating. Everything you create won’t be perfect. But the more you create, the process of creating becomes easier.
This agility (quick to adapt), flexibility (muscles moving outwards), strength (muscles moving inwards), stability (safe) and balance (steady) are the pillars of various movement practices like yoga. If your business can take on these pillars, your business is future proof. It’s ready. But it’s also thriving in its own movement.
And that’s why creating and creativity is important for your business. If you don’t practice creating something new consistently, or practice creativity, your business is at risk of loosing these pillars. A business that cannot adapt easily, a business that is in chaos and unsafe, a business that isn’t fluid, is a business that is stuck.
This applies to any business. Your business does not have to have a creative focus in order to practice creativity. It just means that every business can benefit from creativity. And if creativity is your business focus, attempt the impossible: create something completely unrelated to your business as practice.
My go-to creativity practices:
- Colouring books
- Yoga/ dancing/ movement practices
Your list might be different. And you will be amazed at how these various practices can be incorporated into team-building exercises in your business. Forcing staff to colour in or doodle during staff meetings is another way to incorporate these practices into your business. Studies have shown that doodling and colouring in enhances focus – so don’t be afraid, it’s the new world after all: a new world of creating and encouraging creativity that will allow for growth.