Living Creatively Even When You Don’t Feel Creative

Living Creatively Even When You Don't Feel Creative

Yesterday we talked about living intentionally and what that actually means. Today, I want to talk about the second word in our tagline: creative.

What is creative living anyway?

creative
1. having the quality or power of creating.
2. resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.
3. imaginative.
4. originative; productive.

Let’s start with what it doesn’t mean. Embracing creative living doesn’t mean this is a site for hipsters, artists and creative types, although we certainly welcome you here too! But honestly, I don’t really fit under any of those labels myself. I’m not an artist: I see things in black and white and straight lines. I am more likely to prioritize function over form. And while I’m a noncomformist, I prefer objective, follow-the-rules activities to subjective art.

Living Creatively Even When You Don't Feel Creative

You can see this part of my personality in the activities I enjoy:

  • the rules of grammar as opposed to creative writing
  • coloring books but not drawing/painting
  • building and coding a website

“What is art? You are. And the mayfly. And every wasp novel ever lived. And the hard Winter overthrown by Spring. Motherhood. Grass. Jupiter. Your annoying neighbor. Art is.”
–N.D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl

But while I may not be an artist or especially creative according to the conventional definition, I still want to live a creative life. I want to see the beauty in every day, make time for laughter, embrace the imperfections of this life, and pursue my passions.

Living Creatively Even When You Don't Feel Creative

I love the phrase “live your art”, and that’s what I want to do. I may not be able to paint a canvas, but I want the days of my life to paint their own canvas. I may not be the greatest chef, but I want to nourish my family with love and a passion for living. I might be awkward, but I want to dance through my days anyway.

In a post on The Art of Simple earlier this week, my friend Katie said this: “I once had the gorgeous experience of listening to singer-songwriter David Wilcox play a show in a little town outside of Cincinnati. When he finished singing, he looked out at us and said, ‘Sing your life. Live your music.’”

That’s what I want.

We always joke that our third daughter dances to the beat of her own drum, and there are times that I truly think she has her own soundtrack that carries her through life. While I might be a bit more grounded, I can’t help but envy her unconcerned, joyful approach to life.

And that’s the point: Creativity isn’t necessarily separate from the everyday. We can be creative in the midst of dirty diapers and driving kids too and from school and all the other tasks that fill our days. We can sing our life even when no one is paying for tickets to hear us.

Living Creatively Even When You Don't Feel Creative

On the other hand, sometimes we do need to make room for more overt creative pursuits. We need to limit our time on Facebook or zoning out in front of the TV to leave time for creating in the kitchen or building a Lego set or coloring outside of the lines. We need time to stop and smell the roses, to pull over on the side of the road to watch a sunset or to dance in the living room with our husband or kids.

One of the top books on my reading list for 2014 is Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways. The description of the book says this: “A Million Little Ways uncovers the creative, personal imprint of God on every individual. It invites the discouraged parent, the bored Christian, the exhausted executive to look at their lives differently by approaching their critics, their jobs, and the kids around their table the same way an artist approaches the canvas–with wonder, bravery, and hope.”

I’m not letting myself buy it until I finish a few of the books I’ve already started, but I think about it often. And I hope that Life Your Way encourages readers to do the same:

Live your art. Sing your life.

Creative living is about embracing the beauty in every day. Do you consider yourself a creative person? How do you live creatively outside of typical “art” pursuits?

Mandi Ehman is the blogger behind Life Your Way. She and her husband have four beautiful girls plus one baby boy, and together they live, work and homeschool on a little slice of heaven in wild, wonderful West Virginia. Mandi loves coffee, chocolate, easy meals, beautiful things and minimalist spaces.