How To Be Creative 10: Recognize You Are Creative

Creative people are wired differently. They’re often described as quirky or weird, and while that can be true, it’s not universal. A lot of creative people out there that aren’t comfortable labeling themselves as one, but it’s pretty easy to tell by how someone uses their idle time. Does the slightest twinge of boredom send you fleeing to your phone in search of entertainment and instant gratification? Sure, sometimes that happens to us all. But can that opportunity spark your imagination? If that feeling is something you enjoy, but you’re not doing it as often as you’d like, make it a priority.

It’s not easy. There are so many distractions. Endless opportunities to consume music and tv, or socialize. But when a creative person consistently puts consumption first, they are rejecting who they are. If you recognize yourself as a creative, acknowledge that time for your pursuits is a basic need just like food, shelter, and sex — even if it may fall a bit lower on Mr. Maslow’s hierarchy. Time to create is something you may need for your mental health, so don’t ignore it.

For me, it’s a simple litmus test. If I give myself an hour a day to create, how does it make me feel? Even if no one sees or likes what I’m making, it brings me joy. So I know it’s time well spent.

Not everyone in your life will understand this. Some people think it’s really strange I’d rather spend a Friday night with a notebook or a Sunday wandering down streets I’ve never been before. But give yourself permission to do you. Don’t be influenced by what most people think you should be doing. Make time for yourself because no one else can do that for you. Giving yourself an opportunity to be creative is the only way you ever will be.

If you have to block out a time for yourself to work on what you love, do it. If you focus, it may take much less time than you thought. And even if it does take forever, it’s still worth it. Forget about obligations that can wait or what would be a more “productive” use of your time. Doing what you love is the most productive thing ever. Sometimes you gotta work on projects for no other reason than that they make you smile. It’s important for your happiness.