Find Your Creative Calling
& why it’s never too late.
“I can’t draw.”
“I can’t sing.”
“I can’t dance.”
“I’m just not creative.”
You may have uttered one of these sentences in your lifetime. I’ve been guilty of the first statement; and I hear the second statement almost daily when I tell people about myself. As an artist, sometimes these words are frustrating to hear. I was not born singing opera. It took years of training to be able to produce the sound I needed to make it in my field--- and at 23, I’m still not done. Of course, I believe in talent. I was born with an innate draw to music, and I was lucky enough to be endowed with some natural capability. However, I also believe that everyone has the capacity for creative endeavors, and all are a learned skill. And did you ever think that maybe you have yet to discover a talent you possess? Are you really going to buy into the garbage that you had to start at age 5 to be good at something? Give me a break. That’s a cop out if I’ve ever heard one. Ian Anderson started playing the flute in his 20s, and retaught himself certain fingerings in his mid-40s. Claude Monet started painting in his 30s, and Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing in her 40s. You need to get real. It is never too late, and 90% of achieving something is believing that you can.
Maybe your art won’t be displayed in that fancy gallery down the street. Maybe you’ll never publish a poem. But maybe—you will create something, and it will make you feel better. Maybe, your creation will touch someone else. Those are the reasons we, as humans, create. We need to, and the world needs us to.
If you follow my Instagram, you know that I recently tried stand-up comedy for the first time a few weeks ago. (Check out a clip from the first time here.) This week will be my third time up at the mic. Quite honestly, I didn’t have the itch to try it until a few months ago. As a creative and a performer, it felt natural to give it a go, and I was confused when people in my life were surprised by this. I grew up wanting to share and express, and most of my inhibitions about that faded a long time ago. I’ve realized, however, that not everyone feels free to express themselves or even knows where to begin. I couldn’t imagine being held back in this way, so I would like to encourage my readers to find new ways of being creative and expressing themselves. Everyone is capable of creativity and deserves an outlet.
Find Your Creative Calling: Four Questions to Ask Yourself First.
How am I dealing with pain?
When I am in pain, I need to distract myself. I’m not a homebody, and I can’t bear to be unoccupied when I hurt. I have to convert some of that pain to energy. I get it—we should all lean into what we’re feeling, but that doesn’t mean we should wallow. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and be strong. Quite the contrary, I use my pain as insight to fuel me to do activities that may redirect my mind. For instance, when I was going through a heartbreak, I performed a few songs at a cabaret that reflected my emotions. While I was expressing what I was feeling, I was also touching an audience, creating something of measure, and releasing some of that pain. That’s what performing does for me. And it’s not for everyone. If you are someone who withdraws unto themselves when in pain, then you may be someone who finds comfort in writing, drawing, or painting.
What brings me the most joy?
This may be the toughest question of all for most to answer. You may find you don’t even know the answer. That means you should be asking yourself this more. It’s also important to make the distinction between what truly sets your soul on fire, and what you are doing to impress others. What do YOU like? Does connecting with people make you happy? How do you do that? Does reading and exploring new ideas make you happy? Go seeking for yourself, and you may find a gift you can share with others.
What kind of hobbies did I grow up doing?
My mom used to take me to a scrapbooking club every week growing up. Now I’m a blogger and Instagrammer. Coincidence? I think not. We carry our childhoods with us for the rest of our lives, and you may have already discovered something you love. Did you play a band instrument and love it, but have to give it up for your football schedule in high school? Pick that back up. Building upon something familiar can be the ultimate comfort.
What kind of art do I enjoy consuming?
Now, not everyone that loves comedy can make people laugh, but generally, it is a good rule of thumb to create what you already love. I can’t go a single day without listening to music, and oftentimes creating it, doesn’t feel like work at all. You may also want to push your boundaries to consume more art. If you’ve been watching movies, go see some live theater. If you’ve been reading non-fiction, go see part of a lecture series. The only way to know if you like something is to go find out.
I ask myself these questions and reflect on them often. These questions continue to be key for me in unlocking my own potential.
You don’t have to be the next big makeup influencer or best selling poet. Some of the most creative people in my life are those that express themselves the most humbly. My grandmother expresses herself in the way she decorated her home and in the meals she cooks. One of my dearest friends works in mental health, and she will assess a situation and then create potential solutions. Almost nothing you do can be solved solely with knowledge. You have to think critically and creatively to apply that knowledge and make something unique. Neither of them receive much public recognition for their creativity, but they both touch others in ways that are both unique and immeasurable.
Maybe you’re just going to get more creative with the meals you cook, maybe you’re going to take an improv class, or maybe you’re going to start writing poetry. Whatever it is, be kind to yourself in the journey. Life is about trial and error; we’re not supposed to excel at everything. I can’t think of anything more sad than letting our fear get in the way of our potential.
Everyone’s creativity is personal, but if you need some inspiration on where you may unlock some of yours, use the list below to get you started! Some small ideas and some big ones :)
Try open mic stand up comedy.
Find an improv group or class in your city
Start journaling to open ended questions. You may find you like writing short essays or narratives.
Experiment with makeup—it’s something a lot of you use everyday anyways!
Pick up an instrument. Ukulele and harmonica are wonderful instruments for first time musicians!
Challenge yourself to build a meal using only what’s in your pantry. It may be the best thing you’ve ever cooked.
Rearrange your furniture and add some homemade wall decor. You may just be inspired to redecorate everything.
Take an art class in a medium you’ve never tried before. There are always classes offered at craft stores and arts centers. If you’ve never got the hang of drawing maybe photography, pottery, or sewing could be your niche.
Garden! Selecting and arranging a garden uses skill and creativity in tandem with one another.
Take a ballroom dance course.
Pick out ten items from your closet and style them 30 different ways.
If you answer any of the questions or decide to try something new, let’s chat about it in the comments!!