I have a not-so-secret secret to share with you all: everyone—yes, everyone—is creative. Each and every one of us is born with the inherent ability, and deep-seeded desire, to create new things of beauty from the world around us. The problem is that not all of us know what our creative style is, or if we do know it, we don’t always know exactly how to snatch onto it and run into the wild unknown embracing its mystery. This is my challenge to you: to find the confidence and determination to embrace your creativity whole heartedly. And here is everything you need to know about how to do it.
For some reason, people have fallen into the habit of telling themselves (and each other) that creativity and creative talent is just something that you are born with, that you either “have it” or you don’t. And that if you don’t happen to “have it” then, well, tough luck. But anyone who has ever taken on a new creative challenge and made it to the other end where “success” lies will tell you the same thing: that it was hard, that they had to put in a lot of hours, and—most importantly—that it was totally worth it.
The truth is, everyone “has it,” it is just a matter of having the patience and determination to find it first! We all need to give ourselves the time and credit we deserve when tackling something new and finding our groove with it. Because that is exactly what creativity is—the developing and changing of an idea or skill until it can stand on its own as a thing you have created.
So, even if you have never thought of yourself as a creative person, but have always wanted to be, there is no time like the present to head outside with your camera in hand, pop on that lens, and start shooting. Your potential is there waiting for you—so go meet it!
Here’s a great way to start:
HONE IN ON IT
One of the greatest things about creativity is its abstractness. And unfortunately, that can also be one of the greatest challenges it brings, too. Potential can be scary, and when you open your eyes to a whole world of creative possibilities it can feel polarizing to dedicate yourself to choosing just one. What if it is the wrong one? What if you don’t love it? What if you fail? Here is the thing about all of those scary questions: They’re hypothetical. Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from trying something new. Choose a creative path or project and hone in on it. Get to know it first before you second guess it!
Now that you are on the path toward trying something new, it’s time to get to know your new pastime better. If you have discovered a creative path that you are super passionate about, you owe it to yourself (and the path!) to learn as much as you possibly can about it. That way you give yourself all the tools you need to reach the success you desire. A painter is nothing without their paints, and a photographer is nothing without their camera. So, get to know your camera as well as you know yourself and you will find that the more hours you put in the stronger the pull of creativity will feel.
Remember how I mentioned that to find your creativity, you’re going to have to put in a lot of hours? Well, this is the part where you rack up those very hours. It’s not enough to say “I want to be a successful photographer”—you have to do it to be it. Now that you have figured out the “thing” you hope to be creative in, you have to support your journey to creativity by feeding and nurturing the skills you are building. Take as many photos as you can of as many people, places, objects, lightings, and settings as you possibly can. We have all heard the saying that “practice makes perfect,” but that has never been so true as when it comes to finding and developing your creativity. Just go easy on yourself and remember that during this phase you won’t always feel super creative or passionate. But don’t worry, it’s coming!
LET IT GROW
Believe it or not, this is the fun part. You have discovered something you’re curious about, you have gotten to know it better, and you have put in the hours (a whole lot of hours). Now you get to watch your creativity grow and bloom from within it all. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a sit-back-and-watch type of growth. This is the type of growth you get from digging in and bravely trying new things with the skills you’ve gained. This isn’t just practice (because really everything is always practice), this is learning and creating. You know more about your skill and as a result you can experiment more. And this is where your creativity is finally able to find its spark. You have arrived in a space where you know enough about the rules to break them, change them, and watch them grow—and the only reason you’re able to do this is because of your hard-earned creativity.
To be creative is to create, and once you have the skills to create, your creativity will find you. Just remember that nothing that is worth having ever comes easy—to anyone. We all have to fight for what we want with enough determination to push through the hard parts and get to the sweet, sweet good parts. So, go ahead, chase that dream that has been tempting you, set a new goal for yourself, and dive into your creative spirit headfirst. Because you—and your creativity—are absolutely worth the effort.