Manifesto for a Creative Life
The word ‘creativity’ scares a lot of people, sometimes me included. So before I tell you why I believe that we (you and me) MUST live creative lives, let me be really clear about some of the tired ideas about creativity that will NEVER have a place in our conversations.
Ideas You Won’t Find in the Creative Life Manifesto
Creativity requires ‘thinking outside of the box’.
If I hear that phrase one more time, I just might scream. Not only is it old, tired and massively overused, but it’s unhelpful. As Ernie Schenck says in The Houdini Solution: Put Creativity and Innovation to Work by Thinking Inside the Box,
Structures, frames, boundaries and limitations help us to be more creative, not less.
All creative people are jazzed by trying to solve problems in a multitude of ways.
I doubt that I am the only person on the planet who literally does run screaming from those silly party games and creativity workshops where you are asked to do really inane things like this:
This is one of those situations when I am quite happy to be considered well below average.
Creative people are gifted.
Creativity isn’t a talent. It’s a way of operating.John Cleese
It’s easy to see where this belief comes from, surrounded as we are by the achievements of artists from Rembrandt to Picasso, or the equally impressive and creative intellectual achievements of, say, Albert Einstein or even James Dyson (the guy with the vacuum cleaner).
But living a more creative life has nothing to do with being a towering genius of any kind. We never set out to make a huge creative contribution to the world, or perhaps even to hang paintings in our local gallery, so let’s not compare ourselves unfavourably to those who do.
Besides, the research says that as long as your intelligence is average or slightly above, you can be wildly creative.
All creative people are artists.
I keep thinking this one has been well and truly debunked, but then it raises its’ ugly head again, usually through a comment like, “I’m not really a creative person.”
While it is true that all artists are creative, it is not true that all creative people are artists. I am not yet able to draw anything more elaborate than a stick figure, but I am a creative woman and so are you.
So What Does a Creative Life Look Like?
I really want you to care about and embrace the idea that you deserve to live a creative life. To do that, I need to paint the word pictures that will stir your soul. Those kinds of words don’t come easily to me. Allow me, instead, to share the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, Sarah Selecky, Mary Lou Cook, and Kate James. Their words make me leap to my feet shouting, “Yes! This is how I will live!”
5 Reasons Why You Deserve to Live a More Creative Life
A creative life allows you to:
- experience more joy and satisfaction in your life. After thirty years of studying highly creative people, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi concludes that, “Of all human activity, creativity comes closest to providing the fulfillment we all hope to get in our lives. Call it full-blast living.” I believe that full-blast living is our birthright and we must claim it.
- relieve stress. Any form of self-expression gives you the opportunity to immerse in an activity to the point of flow. Also known as being ‘in the zone’, a flow experience is characterized by deep concentration where worries disappear because you are so focused on what you are doing in the present moment.
- better cope with the change and uncertainty that are givens of our 21st century lives.A creative life is open-hearted and open-minded. People living such lives find it easier to relax into the realities of our world.
- know yourself better. When you know your values, likes and dislikes, you can make sense of your life and you have the freedom to make choices that are true to you.
- grow. By staying awake to your life, you have the opportunity to challenge yourself and to learn and create on a daily basis.
Why a Manifesto?
“Simply put, a manifesto is a statement of ideals and intentions.” The word ‘manifesto’ comes from the Latin word ‘manifestum’, meaning clear or conspicuous.
This manifesto follows the format of most by including:
- Opinions –what I don’t believe or don’t value about typical views of creativity
- A Vision–what a creative life looks like
- Intentions–what I (we?) will do to achieve the vision
Manifestos are usually written documents. They serve as a touchstone of inspiration as you review the words each day. If you would like to print a copy of the manifesto, click here.
Manifesto for a Creative Life
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I will be writing a post for each of the statements on the manifesto. If you have a preference for which ones I start with, please share in the comments below. And if you think you might join me in trying to live this manifesto, please do let me know!