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Wise Words from John Cleese: Creativity is not a talent

(Thank you all for being so patient with me during these last handful of weeks. I know I haven’t been as present lately/posting as much. I’ve been really sick. But I think I finally turned a corner!)

Original photo found here:

You might recognize John Cleese’s name. If you ever got a massive cramp around your ribs from laughter while watching Monty Python, you should thank this guy. He’s one of the co-founders.

Creativity can be the lurking monster in the closet–too intimidating for us to tackle, especially if we don’t believe we’re capable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the words “I’m not creative enough to do ____.” I can’t tell you how many times I have stood in front of a canvas or a blank computer screen and wondered I could muster up the creativity for the next project.

In a Video Arts lecture in 1991, Cleese explained that creativity is not a talent. It’s not something you can be prolific at, like slam dunking a basketball or winning a chocolate competitions with your AMAZE-BALLS chocolate pudding. And Cleese had the sources to show creativity is completely unrelated to IQ. (So if you’ve always used the excuse “I’m just not smart enough to be creative”… Well, that excuse doesn’t work anymore (: )

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Let Your Brain Play (with a roadtrip!)

Creative people are notorious for getting wrapped up in their work. Especially when we love what we do. I know I’ve missed coffee dates and meals when in the middle of writing an exciting scene or am almost done with a painting. The worst is when I put off going to the bathroom because I’m on a roll. How sad is that? (Yes, there were a couple close calls. But I’m a grown childless woman. Accidents don’t happen at my stage in life.)

After a while of being sucked in, we may notice our work has become a little stagnant. Our paintings don’t have the unique perspective as they used to. Our novels don’t have the voice or plot lines we strive for.

We pull our heads out of our work to figure out what the crap is going on. And we realize we’ve become so wrapped up in creating perfect scenery we forgot to actually go visit some scenery. Or we tried so hard to perfect that snappy line of dialogue we haven’t entered dialogue with another person in a long time.

Our brains need space to play, especially as creative people. We forget to splash in puddles, squish mud between our fingers, listen to the waves crashing, or even try a new flavor of tea. We need to experience life in order to be inspired by it. Without playtime, our creative work can become colorless and rote.

Which is why I’m taking a road trip.

Original photo found here:
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Live the Creative Life: Free Chalkboard Sign

Following my last post on facing the fear of the blank/white page, I thought it fitting to giveaway this chalkboard sign:

the_creative_lifeI tried to make this one a little more gender neutral. I promise to make a more masculine sign! I will succeed! Again, this is free to whomever wants it. I have a slightly bigger size, so holler if you want that one. (Well, maybe not literally. Sound doesn’t travel through my computer pixels as of this decade. Unless you record it. But I digress.)

Creativity is not about being right or wrong.

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