I also spend time with people who feel they aren’t creative — but they want to be. We can draw, play music, and write, and then we will be artists, musicians, and writers. Creative work feels like something we’re supposed to watch someone else do. If you have any kids in your life, you’ve probably noticed how often they watch someone else play a video game on YouTube, rather than play it themselves. #2: We’re distracted Maybe you’ve noticed this whole internet thing. Choose exercises that are fun and interesting, to make it more enjoyable to get the practice in. And that experience showed me a way I could teach writing and creativity to move folks through the intimidation phase, and to make more time in their lives for creative work (and play). If you’d like to make more time for your own creativity, I’m going to be leading a workshop on how to use a physical notebook — like the THINKERS Notebook — to develop, flesh out, and refine creative ideas. The THINKERS Notebook makes a perfect “sketchbook” for writers and creative thinkers. Here’s how it works Order at least two THINKERS Notebooks using this link: (I actually recommend you pick up at least four.
I think most of us are pretty connected to the idea that a full life includes creativity.
We’re meant to draw, paint, sing, dance, and tell stories. Virtually all little kids do these things. And then we “grow out” of them. And that’s sad.
I spend tons of time with creative people. I also spend time with people who feel they aren’t creative — but they want to be.
And I’ve made some observations about why it’s so hard for us to put creative time into our lives.
#1: We’re intimidated
Unfortunately, our pragmatic, ruthlessly productive culture tells us that being creative is only for specialists.
- You can’t draw or paint unless you’re an “artist.”
- You can’t make music unless you’re a “musician.”
- And you can’t write unless you’re a “writer.”
Common sense would tell us that of course we can be any of those simply by doing. We can draw, play music, and write, and then we will be artists, musicians, and writers.
But it doesn’t feel that way.
Creative work feels like something we’re supposed to watch someone else do.
We watch cooking shows rather than cook. We watch sports rather than play.
If you have any kids in your life, you’ve probably noticed how often they watch someone else play a video game on YouTube, rather than play it themselves.
We’ve become a culture of spectators. And it takes real effort to break free from that.
#2: We’re distracted
Maybe you’ve noticed this whole internet thing.
Maybe you’ve noticed how absurdly distracting it is.
Maybe you’re reading this post right now while you put off pursuing some big juicy goal, like training to climb Everest or writing your novel, or just dancing around the living room flinging scarves like Isadora Duncan.
Just like easy access to “junk food” makes it all too easy to live mainly on sweets, fat, and starch, our easy access to “junk amusement” makes it painfully easy to lose our free hours on mindless diversions.
And when I say “We,” I don’t mean, “All those other people.” My phone has started telling me how much time I spend every week using it to play Sudoku. I was enjoying being in denial about that.
I’m not some anti-digital extremist who thinks we need to give up every online game and distraction.
But just like sweets and starch and fat, we want to keep them in balance with more nourishing things.
#3: We’re actually busy
One reason we chase those distractions is that we really do have a lot of obligations.
We have families and jobs and living spaces to maintain. We have friends who need an ear and pets who would…