You Are Creative.

by Lain Ehmann on April 17, 2012

I hear it all the time:

“Lain, I can’t write/scrapbook/blog/sketch. I’m just not creative.”

“Creativity is for OTHER people, not me.”

“I’ve never been creative. I just don’t have ‘it.”

You know what I say? Pshaw.

Creativity is not purely the realm of artists, dancers, and Lady Gaga. Creativity is not relegated to just a few chosen people.

Creativity is your birthright.

If you are familiar with the Bible, you know that God is nothing if not creative (in fact, he’s called the “Creator” for a reason!). And we are made in His image… so (according to my calculations) that means we are creative too. And if you’re not into that Bible stuff, it still doesn’t matter: You’re still creative!

Let’s look backwards: Never has there been a kindergartener who didn’t know how to paint a sun, a rainbow, or a three-headed chicken with no beak. Never has there been a seven-year-old who was worried about her singing voice or his acting abilities. Never has there been a child who couldn’t lie on her back in the grassy field with the scent of dandelions around her, and stare up at the sky and see a hippo, a sandcastle, and a unicorn in the puffy white clouds ahead.

We are born creating, performing, dancing, singing, and LAUGHING. And then somewhere along the way, we lose it.

Maybe it comes when we start getting graded in art (ick!).

Maybe it comes when we start taking lessons on how to be a kid (Gymboree, anyone?).

Maybe it comes when we start having to-do lists and goals and performance reviews and quarterly budget meetings. In any case, what was once as much a part of us as our skin is suddenly alien, out there, other.


I consider it my job to bring it back to you. To get you to recognize that creativity isn’t a magic potion that you either have or you don’t, but a habit, a skill, a muscle — one that grows stronger the more you use it.

And you don’t just have to use it for artistic purposes (note: there is a difference between being artistic and being creative. I am decidedly creative but less artistic. I draw cupcakes and my Pictionary partner sees a hay bale (granted, he was from Kansas…).

You can be creative in the way you prepare your kids’ lunches (see this site on ideas for Bento box lunches).

You can be creative in the way you dress (or in the way you put together outfits on this modern take on paper dolls).

You can be creative in the way you make a dollar scream until it begs for mercy but you still have the cutest house on the block.

You can be creative in the way you help your fifth-grader brainstorm school social issues, or in the way you approach your latest business problem, or in the way you plan a vacation, or in the way you come up with different voices for all the characters when you read to your kids at bedtime.

Creativity is no more restrained to one topic or field or pursuit than spirituality is limited to church.

In the words of Rumi, There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the earth. Find your way, the way that makes you sing inside a little and do a tap dance on your soul. It might be with pastels and paper, or it might be on your next budget spreadsheet, or it might be on the pages of your scrapbook album or through the lens of your camera.

Go to it. And quit your bellyachin’.

simple scrapbooking layouts

P.S. Oh! I almost forgot in all the excitement of climbing up on my soapbox… True Scrap starts on Friday and there is still time to join! Go, go, go now!

  • Michele in La

    I’m glad you climbed up on the soapbox :)…  I also believe that we are all creative – much more so than most people think. 

    And even more than that, if you believe you are creative, but you aren’t happy with your results, seek guidance…perhaps you just need to know some simple design principles.

    If you are one of “those creative, artistic people”, share your knowledge – you never know the difference you may make for someone – you will find joy when their eyes twinkle in delight when they found out how simple it really is.  My grandmother only needed to be shown why all “blues” are not created equal – a short conversation about color theory shared with a nearly 70 year old…after that, she began picking out her own material for her quilts and doing a wonderful job after years of thinking thinking she wasn’t good at it.

    I highly recommend “The Dot” – it is a children’s book that presents both sides – the person who doesn’t feel creative and the art teacher who brings out the creativity of a child.  It is one of my all-time favorites!

    Unleash your creative spirit….

  • Lynnette

    Wow…that was powerful!  Amen, sister!

  • Danielle_nl

    This is so true!

  • Michael

    I think most people can be creative, but it takes some practice like everything else.  I may be creative naturally if I’m predisposed to it, but if not, it’s going to take some work to get into a creative state of mind.

  • Lainehmann

    Great comments, my friend! I love The Dot. And Ish. And all those Peter Reynolds books. :)

  • Lainehmann

    I think we are all creative naturally. We lose the skill over time by not using it, so it definitely takes practice!

  • joan | the backpack chronicles

    This is so true! We are all creative in our own unique ways. 

  • Cindy M.

    Lain, this is so true, and I tell people this all the time when they tell me they can’t scrapbook because they aren’t creative!  I also tell them that what they often think of as “creative” is actually just “knowledge”, not necessarily skill.  Knowledge of how to use paper, tools, and supplies fosters creativity.  They aren’t “un-creative”, they just don’t know how to use the tools! :)  I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to link to this article from my next blog! :)

  • Lynn Mercurio

    What a great post.  I think all too often people compare themselves to those who are “famous” in the industry and they don’t feel like they live up to those standards, but anything that is created by someone is creativity.  It doesn’t have to be the best – it doesn’t have to be outstanding, it just has to “be”.  That’s for reminding us that we are all artists even if we don’t know how to draw.

  • Claire in Aus

    I agree completely.  I also really believe that once you get your creative juices flowing (by just starting), you DO get more and more creative. I look back at some of my pages and wonder where I found the idea to do ‘that’ but it was just because I was regularly scrapping. Ideas flow, confidence grows and suddenly you are creative!

  • Maxi

    think you hit the nail on the head. We all draw and paint in nursery with no inhibitions then we started to get marked, and judged and we lose that inhibition and belief. Luckily there are people like you around to make us realise that it’s those who judge us who are in the dark, not us! x

  • Pam Bryan

    I wish everyone I knew would read this! I am the worst at not thinking the best of myself though! Thanks for the lift!

  • Ks Eventsfairs

    Lain, This really touched me. It’s so true!
    I want to thank you for all you do! Your
    Posts are very helpful and inspiring!

  • Tina Campbell

    Good choice and I agree we are made in God’s image so we are made to be creative and I appreciate showing his glory through everything I create :)

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