confession of a non-creative

by Kristen

I am not a creative person. I’m a direction-follower.

I cook by recipe. Even if I know it by heart I read it and double-check as I go.

I’m not artsy or crafty. I can re-create or copy someone else’s work with moderate success, but don’t hand me art supplies without a template and expect anything interesting.

I don’t even doodle well. I draw variations on the same multi-lined pattern every time.

I want to be creative. I want to have ideas and be able to draw them beautifully like my dad. Or like one of my brothers who draws up blueprints both functional and striking; or like my brother who can hear a need and then build something stunning. They create. They create very, very well.

I consume.

The antithesis of a creator: I devour books and fill up on art and music. For both sustenance and pleasure I take in what others have created.

But the intense value in creating captivates me. I watch the joy on the faces of my friends’ children and my nieces as they create imaginary worlds to play in or crayoned masterpieces with detailed back-stories. I hear the delight in a friend’s voice as she describes sewing projects or evenings playing the piano. I see someone come alive in a new way as she talks about the series of novels she’s writing.

There is something fulfilling and satisfying in creating. The need to create is hard-wired into humanity. But some of us have lost touch with that foundational element.

It is so much easier to consume. We’ve forgotten how to take an idea and shape it and shepherd it into reality.

And I for one have forgotten the time and passion it takes to create. I need to practice slowing down and honoring the creative process—even as I consume. Too often I inhale what others have labored to create without savoring it, without realizing what I charge through in minutes or hours took weeks or months or years to craft.

So here I sit. Playing with words. They are the only creative component I am comfortable manipulating. And somewhere deep down I have it in me to create some small contribution to counter my relentless consumption, don’t I?