Trust your creativity. It will not let you down – if you only have faith in it. In many ways that statement is my religion – at least when it comes to the creative process. It’s certainly the philosophy I base my workshop and teaching on. We are all born with a connection to what I call our creative well (an expression I have borrowed from Julia Cameron, writer of the book The Artist’s Way). Have you ever seen a child not being able to be playful – which in essence is the same as being creative? Unfortunately this playfulness is something most of us will lose as we grow older. Only the talented ones keep playing with their creativity after a certain age. Or is it really so? Is it only conventions and expectations of what it means to grow older that lead us to discard our creative child?
For one thing I don’t believe talent has anything to do with being creative. The fact is talent or lack of talent has never been a limiting factor for any artists willing to do the work. It might set the perimeters for your potential as an artist, but hardly any artist hits the roof of his or her potential. With hard work and trust in your creative abilities you will reach as far as you want to. Again talent isn’t as necessary requirement for being creative. On the contrary I believe creativity is accessible to everyone. If only you open up to your creative well and are willing to trust it.
Creativity can’t be learned in a traditional sense of learning. You just have to start with what you have gotten in you. Slowly (or sometimes faster) the creative well will then open up to you. You can learn to facilitate the creative processes; you can get inspiration from other artists as well as from all kinds of sources in your life. One thing you can’t do is to sit down and just wait for it to happen. Inspiration doesn’t come out of a vacuum. Creativity is something to be uncovered, not something to be wished for. If you let your self open up to the creative resources within you, you will find that it is not a scarce resource. It will not run out no matter how much you draw on it. On the contrary, the more creative you are the more creative you become. Creativity is limitless. It’s a never ending source, filling up ever quicker every time you draw from it. There are only three prerequisites: You have to open up for it, you have to work (hard) with it and you have to trust it. Sounds like religion? Well, I am not really much of a religious guy, so I don’t care what it’s called, but I believe this to be real.
A recent example from myself: Over the last couple of months I have been working on the plot of my latest novel. Slowly by slowly the structure of the novel was getting laid out. As I got closer to the end, I started to get worried about the ending. I needed a strong ending, one that turned everything around while at the same time tidied up all loose ends. But I couldn’t see it, it wouldn’t come to me. But I just kept developing the plot towards the end, trusting that something would come up in the process. I wrenched my brain; I tried to lay out different strategies like mathematical equations. But nothing worked. Not until I was only few sections away from the ending. And then suddenly it just came to me while writing it. It was as it had been there all the time, only I hadn’t seen it. But the more I needed it, the more it got revealed. In the end I got the strong and surprising ending I was looking for, and it even used elements I had put in the plot earlier without really knowing what to do with them. I trusted the creative process. And I was «rewarded».