Living Creatively

Bridal portrait with a black letter tattoo that says CREATE

January is International Creativity Month!! Naturally I wanted to write this post so much earlier in the month because its such an amazing opportunity to start the year inspired – but as with all things in entrepreneurship – we got busy and things had to get shuffled around. BUT…..Better late than never though because this is the CORNERSTONE of my entire business and the way that I chose to live my life so naturally I have a lot of words to say about it.

First things first ……

Creativity means a lot of different things to different people and can be a source of contention between individuals. A lot of people associate creativity with artistic ability or skill, but there are so many ways to be creative in this life other than art. The way in which you craft your schedule for the day, the way you style your home, the clothing you choose to wear – all of those are very closely tied to creativity.

Columbus Georgia wedding photographer self portrait with flowers

Judging someone’s level of creativity can be a slippery slope to saying something deeply offensive. There are so many people who have been told that they were not creative enough, myself included, and that assumption can weigh heavy on people.

I honestly think creativity is one of the traits that we all have access to but are too scared to explore because it’s an invitation for someone to pass judgement. And it’s not just arbitrary judgement, its judgement about things that are deeply tied to us as creativity is informed by our most intimate thoughts and feelings.

That being said – Creativity can be SCARY

….because it requires a sense of vulnerability to look within ourselves, which can be incredibly uncomfortable. Even if we are brave enough to get to the stage of looking within, we have to sort out what’s there. This means looking at all of the conditional thoughts and feelings we have about ourselves that were given to us by others. After we can sort through things, then we start to develop new truths about ourselves and those little truths turn into creative ventures.

Maybe your discovered truth is that you like to cook, so you begin to experiment in the kitchen. Your truth could be the fact that you really like the aesthetic of grunge culture, so you start replacing some of your clothing to match your desired look. Maybe you have found a great amount of joy in landscaping so you research horticulture and how to blend certain plants to create a symbiotic ecosystem.

Self Portrait of Michelle Dorrill, a Wedding photographer from Columbus Georgia

Being openly creative means sharing the little truths about ourselves that we like – but one comment from someone else can sometimes make us feel absolutely stupid for even trying.

So what does it take to live an openly creative life?

It takes courage – a whole lot of it. I had a dear friend and mentor tell me consistently that I was not a very creative person and it honestly wrecked me. It really made me feel like it was impossible for me to ever be a full time artist. I listened to that person for several years before I realized that I had an opportunity to make up my own mind about myself. It took a hell of a lot of courage to break that mold but when I did, I started experiencing a lot more joy and a level of self love and trust I didn’t know was possible. That trust was the foundation for my business and the foundation I stand on every single day.

I do want to highlight that courage does not replace the presence of fear. Fear will always be present with creativity. Even though I am a full time artist with a growing business- it’s still scary to look within, it’s still hard to be vulnerable, I still get weary when people critique me, but it’s the courage to keep showing up for myself and my truth that allows for me to continue.

Also do yourselves a favor and pick up a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic. It was the number one resource that inspired me to take up creative living.

So how do we really get this thing going?

Fun self portrait of a photographer in a target shopping cart located in Columbus Georgia

Take action – even if you’re scared. Show up to the ballet class, suggest the new innovative solution at work, plan one creative photoshoot that’s out of your comfort zone. Do not beat yourself up for the outcome of your new creative pursuits. It’s going to be a bit messy at the start – but you’ll find your way. The more you critique and criticize your early work, the less likely you are to keep going.

There are two things that will make creative living easier – one – consistency. Keep showing up and it will get easier and you will become more skilled in whatever you’re doing. And the second – surround yourself with creative ideas, people, pinterest boards, podcasts, books, movies, or resource you can that inspires you. Inspired people are more likely to follow through, try new things, and push themselves to improve their skills.

So easy peasy right? Haha – wrong. But here are 3 ways you can start living a more creative life.

  • Start a journal or some exercise that allows for you to be vulnerable and discover more of yourself
  • When you’ve discovered real truths about yourself – take action – even if you’re scared. Find an accountability buddy if you need or someone to try it with you.
  • Celebrate the act of creativity even if the outcome was not what you wanted

Self portrait - Wedding Photographer from Columbus Georgia with red hair sitting in a white bounce castle

I really hope this was helpful for someone. I am so honored for this little corner of the internet where we push ourselves to be better and inspire others to join. I know that 2023 I will be focusing a lot more on allowing myself to flourish creatively instead of tearing myself down. Interested in joining me but need a pep talk? My email and DMS are always open. I would love to dream with you about how you can start living more creatively in 2023.

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