• Advice

Stop worrying about being creative

Like everyone else with a Facebook profile, I am regularly assailed with quizzes on my newsfeed: What classic ‘80s movie are you? What snack food are you? How will you die horribly on Game of Thrones?

One quiz, however, keeps popping up over and over again lately: How creative are you?

This quiz is one of a spate of content I’ve encountered lately on the nature of creativity and gauging your own creativity and geographical creativity and where creativity lies in your brain, etc.

Some of these articles are valuable and interesting! I’m in support of learning more about creativity, and how to encourage creative thinking.

What worries me about some of these quizzes and articles, however, is the delineation they can make between Creative People and Non-Creative People. A friend garnered a relatively low score on the aforementioned (very unscientific) Facebook quiz and posted it, commenting: “Guess I’m not very creative :(”.

That stinks. That annoys the hell out of me.

Everyone – EVERYONE – has the potential to be imaginative. Look at children; with the slightest encouragement, every kindergartener will tell you that he/she is an artist, or pretend to be a monster, or make up a story.

It’s only as we get older, as we start to get graded and evaluated on our creativity, that we start to measure and judge the quality of our imagination. We begin to believe that some people are Creative, and some people are Not Creative – and that between them is an impassable wall.

I hate the thought of people giving up on their potential because they don’t think they’re very good at being creative.


Don’t worry about how “good” you are at being creative. Don’t try to quantify or qualify your own creative potential – there is a whole world of people out there to do it for you. Don’t strangle your imagination in its cradle.

As Martha Graham put it:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

Stop taking meaningless little quizzes and despairing. If you want to create something, create it. Explore new ideas and experiment with new forms in your work and in your life. You are just as worthy as realizing it as anyone else.

Congratulations! You are creative!

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