I distinctively remember my GCSE Art classes. One in particular. I told my art teacher I was struggling. I couldn’t think of anything. My imagination had run out. I thought it made me a failure.
He told me two things. First of all, he told me I was a creative person and every creative person in the entire Universe doubts their creativity sometimes.
Secondly, he told me that I had to think of creativity as something I had to nurture.
He said creativity is like a puppy.
He said if I had a puppy, I wouldn’t just ignore it and leave it to fend for itself – I’d look after it, feed it, walk it, nurture it. He told me to always compare my creativity to a puppy.
If I wanted to be a creative person, if I wanted my imagination to soar, I had to nurture it. Look after it. As if it were something in my care. He said if I wanted to be a creative person, I’d need to train my creativity like I’d train a puppy. It would take practice, it would take frustration and it would take a lot of treats. But, the more I trained it, the better a companion it would be.
I’ll never forget that advice.
I’ve been neglecting my creativity. I’ve been leaving it in a corner to fend for itself, not walking it, not feeding it and certainly not training it. I’ve been blaming things both that deserve blaming and that don’t.
I mean god, I’ve only “properly” picked up a pencil once since long before I graduated. (See the, admittedly kind of crappy quality, Instagram screenshot above.) Other than that – nothing since University. And even at University, that wasn’t me nurturing my creativity. That was me knocking out a quick sketch to meet a deadline in the hopes of not failing. I haven’t “properly” picked up a pencil or a paintbrush more than once since A Level Art and man, I miss it.
I get this creative itch sometimes.
Sat at my desk at work, listening to the tip-tap-tap of keyboards, the buzz of people on the phones and the faint sound of a kettle boiling through the door to the kitchen next to my desk, I get an itch.
Sometimes, the itch is gone as quickly as it appeared. Sometimes, it lasts until lunchtime when I can write. Sometimes, writing isn’t enough and I want to order a truck filled with paint, paper and brushes, sit on the floor, creating anything with a fresh pot of tea at my side and my hands covered in every colour paint imaginable.
At this moment in time, I can’t fully satisfy the last itch. I live in someone else’s house with very little space, so painting/creating on a large scale currently isn’t an option. Though I can doodle, I can sketch, I can write. I think it’s time for me to stop saying “I can’t”, just because one outlet isn’t available, and start nurturing my creativity again in ways that are possible.
Then, in the new year, when we move, I can break out the big guns. I can buy watercolours and oil paints and sketchbooks and canvases and I can find time to rediscover my creativity. I will be able to find time to lure it out of the corner it’s been shoved in, stroke it’s hair, feed it something hearty, take it on a long walk and nurture it the way it deserves to be nurtured.
Heck, if I create something I deem worthwhile then who knows, I may even start selling some of it.
The world will be my oyster.
And I can’t wait.