“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” -Sylvia Path.
Sylvia Path hits the nail on the head with this succinct observation on creativity. How can we hope to be truly imaginative and create something unique to us if every time an idea pops into our head, we shut it down?
Sometimes, it can be hard to let those ideas take root and grow in our minds when we have so many practical responsibilities in our day to day lives. It can feel like we don’t have time to make space for creativity, or it just isn’t a priority. But can you imagine what the world would be like if artists, authors, poets and architects didn’t make space in their lives to cultivate their ideas?
I have always considered myself to be a creative person, but I often struggle with these thoughts - not only of the lack of time, but also with self-doubt. Ever since I got a full time job as a teacher, my mindset has been regrettably negative.
“I want to be a writer, but I don’t have the energy to write any more,” I complained to my boyfriend late at night when I was dreading going to school the next day.
“You’re just not trying hard enough,” he replied, “if you really want to write, you have to make yourself do it.”
It wasn’t easy to hear, but it didn’t take me long to realize that he was right. As soon as I started writing again, not only did I feel infinitely better, more in control and more positive, I found that my creativity seemed to be growing. More ideas were coming to me, as though they knew that now, they were welcome.
For me, consistency is key to creativity. Whether it’s writing, drawing, painting, or something else, I personally need to find my flow and make it a habit. If I drop the ball, it’s very hard to pick it up again. Creativity needs to be nurtured during the times when it isn’t coming naturally.
That’s not to say it can be forced. But with the right mindset, inspiration can come from all kinds of places. My favourite place to write is in a comfortable coffee shop, where I can see people, hear music and feel relaxed. Maybe for some people, inspiration comes from nature - taking a walk outside will get creative juices flowing. It could even come from dreams - what better way to let go of self-doubt than to work with something completely nonsensical?
All in all, the most important thing is just to start. Starting is the hardest part. Once you have a starting point, it can be edited and revised and even done over, and it will be there when inspiration waxes and wanes. It will always be there in your mind, changing, growing and evolving. Open up your mind and see where the wind will take you.
Mary Gartside is a primary school teacher and blogger living in in Guadalajara, Mexico. She is originally from Lancaster, England. Her favourite things are drinking coffee, visiting new places and dancing badly. You can visit her blog at http://catswildyears.wordpress.com, and find her on Instagram and Twitter.