Your Creative Work Is More Important Than You Think

Does your creativity get left till last?

I mean this quite literally. So many of us think along these lines:

  • I’ll work on my novel once I’ve got the house clean…
  • I’ll get back to painting when the kids are in school…
  • I’ll finish designing that computer game as soon as things calm down at work…

I know it’s easy for me to shove my most creative work to the end of the day and then the end of the week. Writing a novel isn’t urgent, unless you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo.

You probably find that urgent tasks take up a lot of your attention, too. It seems to make sense: after all, dinner needs to be on the table tonight, whereas no-one’s going to notice if you don’t write three pages or finish a sketch.

And when the urgent work is done, you turn to what you consider important. Perhaps it’s easy to deny that your creativity really matters. Perhaps it’s easy to dismiss your art as “messing around” or your writing as “scribbling”.

But your art isn’t meaningless – even when the world seems to think it is, and even when you fear that they’re right.

Your creativity work may well be the most important part of your life.

Creativity Leaves a Legacy

I’ve been reading Chris Guillebeau’s book The Art of Non-Conformity over the past few days, and his discussion on “legacy work” stuck with me.

As Chris puts it:

Let’s return to the two important questions we looked at briefly earlier: “What do you really want to get out of life?” and “What can you offer the world that no one else can?” Whatever your answers to those questions are, you can likely find the beginnings of your quest to live a full life and make the world a better place for others.

As I see it, creative work is some of the best legacy work you can do: no-one else in the world can possibly create exactly the same creation that you produce.

Your novel could bring thousands of readers new insight on life – moving them to laughter or tears.

Your comic strip may well be a bright spot in the day of someone who desperately needs that.

Your painting could offer someone solace.

Your music might be perfect for hundreds of different parties.

None of that can possibly happen if you never create and never finish anything.

It’s all too easy to feel like that can’t possibly apply to you. Perhaps no-one except your dad has seen your art, or your blog is read by all of ten people, none of whom have ever left a comment. But the thing is – every single one of us starts off at zero.

J.K. Rowling has just been named the most influential woman in the UK – and fifteen years ago, none of us knew her name.

But whether or not your creative works ever reach the masses, your creativity is still immensely important.

Creativity Brings You Alive

Both Thursday and I are writers. We don’t just write for a living, or write because we’ve nothing better to do. We don’t even write just because we love it. We write because we’d feel lost and miserable without the ability to put our words down on paper (or on the screen).

Whatever form of creativity you’re drawn to – whether you use words, or paint or clay or notes or something else entirely – you’ll be able to empathise with us. You know how you feel when you get to spend time being creative, especially after a fallow period: it’s like you’ve come alive.

Isn’t that a bit more important than doing the dishes?

Doesn’t that matter a bit more than labelling your emails?

We probably all have a slightly different take on life, and on why we’re here in the world. But I’d think that all of us agree that feeling like we’re living, not just existing is pretty damn important.

That’s why your creativity matters.

If you’re struggling to make more of your creativity – if you feel blocked or stuck, or just think you could take things further – we’d love it if you’d check out the Creativity Toolbox. We’re both thrilled with it, particularly with all the input we had from creative experts, and we really think it’ll help you.

(Image from Flickr user lemuelinchrist)

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