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Do you have a creativity wound?

Britt Bravo Posted by Britt Bravo.

Writer • Editor • Blogger • Teacher • Mentor • Here to help you share your Big Vision with the world!

Do you have a creativity wound?

I think this was a “show” (in a parking lot) from a painting class when I was eight or nine. We were only allowed to paint replicas of greeting cards (lame!).

In preparation for an upcoming interview for the online radio show, Creative Spirit: Connecting Art and Soul, I was asked to think about: 1. When did I first view myself as creative, and 2. Why do many people think of themselves as not being creative?

For me, the two questions are intertwined. I didn’t think of myself as a creative person until about a year ago. Why? I felt like the things I created weren’t “good enough” because I didn’t receive praise for them and/or I wasn’t able to make a living from them. The equation I began to play over and over in my mind was: Create stuff – money – no praise = I’m not creative.

Like many of you, I was creative as a child. I wrote and illustrated my own stories and shared them with my classmates; sang, danced and acted in school plays; created radio dramas with a friend that we recorded (with sound effects) into a tape recorder; drew maps of whole towns on looooong sheets of paper with another friend and made up stories about the people who lived in them; took lots of photos; went to painting class and dance class and pottery class and piano lessons. You get the picture.

As I got older, teachers, “experts” and I added each creative medium to my not good enough list. In response, over the years I turned my creative energy towards helping other people with their creative dreams by:

While I loved all of this work, I still had an insatiable urge to express my creativity, even though I told myself over and over again that I was here to help other people be creative, not to be a creative person.

happy flower
One of the first photos I took during Collecting Color

My breakthrough came about year ago when I took Andrea Sher’s e-course, Treasure Hunt: Collecting Color. Each day, Andrea would send out a photo prompt (e.g. take a photo of a flower, a splash of red, color at your feet). I would take 1-5 photos with my iPhone based on the prompt and upload them to the course’s Flickr group.

I loved it.

Just loved it.

I loved looking for something to photograph every day. I loved taking the photos. I loved playing with Instagram filters to make the images pop. I loved scrolling through my photos and reveling at all of the colors and flowers and birds and bugs I’d captured. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t add that I also liked getting likes and nice comments on my photos when I posted them on Instagram, but mostly I enjoyed the process.  It brought me joy.

Intuitive painting in process
Intuitive painting in process

And just like that. After 45 years, the equation changed: Create stuff + joy = I am creative!

Taking Chris Zydel’s intuitive painting class also increased the strength of my new creativity equation.

The process of writing this post made me realize that I’ve spent a lot of my life chasing creativity, feeling like it was out of reach when in fact, it was always there waiting for me. It just needed a different frame: one of joy, rather than of aspiring for external affirmation.

Writing this piece has also made me realize why I created my new e-course, Just for the Joy of It: 30-Day Creativity Practice for Busy People:

Just for the Joy of It: 30 Day Creativity Practice for Busy People• To help me continue to be creative just for the joy of it (I’m a big believer that we teach what we need to learn ourselves).

• To share what I’ve learned in the hopes that it will be a healing framework for other folks’ “creativity wounds” too.

If you’d like to receive an email when registration opens, please fill out this very short survey and join my e-news.

If you feel comfortable sharing it, I’d love to hear to your creativity story.