Are you a creative person? Do butterflies rise up in your stomach at the idea of creating new things—whether it’s cartoons or fashion or stories or new recipes or computer programs? But do you struggle with finding the time and energy and maybe even chutzpah to actually create?
As a kid, I overflowed with creativity. It poured out of me into everything I did. I always had the most creative projects at school so my teachers loved me. I had a notebook for sketching, one for fashion ideas, and another for science experiments and inventions. I had multiple notebooks for all the stories bouncing around in my head—individual ones for stories I was going to turn into novels and another specifically for all my short story ideas. Even when I wasn’t putting my ideas down on paper or some kind of physical form, I was imagining them all the time. My story characters were my best friends. They kept me company when childhood friendships ended for petty reasons or helped me play out my feelings when I was afraid or confused.
But somewhere during all the “growing up” that life makes you do, I lost that affluence of creativity. My passion for being creative is still as strong as ever, but my ability to CREATE endlessly just isn’t. I tend to blame this issue a lot on time. “I just don’t have the time to be as creative as a I used to be.” But even that’s not really true. Yes, my life is busier and filled with all the “adult” things that aren’t so fun but are necessary to continue living and supporting myself in today’s world. But why should that stop the ideas? Even when I was busy as a child and teenager (and trust me, I was busy as a chronic overachiever), the ideas always bubbled up from the depths of my creative cavity. Even if I didn’t have the time to write them all down, they were still there.
But now, though that spring doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s run dry, it does feel much less prosperous. Like I’ve had to install a well and need to pump on it each day to keep what little juice is left flowing to the surface. It’s a sad state to find yourself when you’ve always been a prolifically creative person.
And for you readers, you might be thinking, “But she is so creative! She writes a weekly blog and a weekly vlog on such crazy topics! I don’t do that!” And yes, I do those things, but that doesn’t make me more creative than you. Or like I’ve won some kind of creativity award. I’m still far behind what I’d like to be accomplishing creatively.
For example, I’d like to write a funny but gut-wrenching memoir about my struggle with perfectionism as a child. And start an artist shop on Threadless where I could sell product with iIMAGINEblank designs and some of my own artwork. I’d like to make more than one video a week on my YouTube channel. I’d like to learn how to code and design websites. I’d like to get better at graphic design. I’d like to make music videos regularly. I’d like to learn how to play an instrument and write and perform music with my boyfriend. I’d like to design outfits and fashion inspiration. I’d like to keep a sketch diary as well as a daily journal.
This just barely scratches the surface of what I’d love to be doing creatively. When you’re a kid, your life seems long and the universe seems huge but also conquerable. You’re not afraid of your creativity. You know you’ll have time. You know that it’s great in some way. But the older you get, the more self-conscious you become. You feel like if you’re going to be creative, you need to somehow contribute to the world. People need to like it, even love it for it to mean something. You become afraid of time. There never seems to be enough for you to fully realize your creative ideas, so instead of making the best of the time you have, you put it off. Saying, “I’ll do it when I have ‘more time,’” when the time is now. When there will never be more time than there is from this moment on.
But instead, we put down our utensils of creativity and bow our heads under the weight of adulthood and wait a little longer for the “right time” to start. But there is never a right time. There is only now.