Creativity takes Courage” ~~Henri Matisse

I think I have always known this, as I spent years lacking the courage to create anything considered artistic. I was able to sew, knit, cross-stitch, play piano, etc., and did those things well enough to earn 4-H ribbons at the county fair and win competitions; however, most of those endeavors were simply following directions. I had a bit of talent, but never had the courage to take it to the next level, to create new fashion or compose new music.

According to Merriam-Webster, to create is “to make or bring into existence something new” and “to produce through imaginative skill.” By definition then, being creative is not following a pattern, although that is how beginners learn the skills and techniques needed to eventually become creative. It is imagining something that has never been done before, having the discipline to learn the requisite skills, and producing something new. What I discovered is that most people want to be creative, they just don’t have the courage to do all the steps: imagine, learn, and produce.

So why does creativity take courage? I have a great imagination, I love learning new things, but I seem to get stuck in the production stage. I thought for years I just didn’t have enough talent or discipline, but if I’m truly honest I have to admit I lack courage.

  • It takes courage to start a new work without knowing exactly how it will turn out.
  • It takes courage to produce something not knowing how it will be received by others.
  • It takes courage to invest time and money that may not earn a return on the investment.
  • It takes courage to follow an idea rather than doing a job with a known outcome.
  • It takes courage to be vulnerable and allow the world to see inside one’s mind and soul.
  • It takes courage to accept criticism from people who don’t even understand the creation.
  • It takes courage to keep creating when your work is dismissed as a waste of time.
  • It takes courage to create in a lonely studio where few even realize you are working.

How do you find the courage to be creative? I can only answer that for myself, but maybe my response will encourage you. Most importantly, I must keep reminding myself that I am creative for me. I write and draw because it challenges my brain, stretches my imagination, lifts my mood, and gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I had a life-altering medical crisis and was never expected to be able to do much of what I do, so I have nothing to lose in trying and learning new skills. I found one person who loves me unconditionally and is fabulously supportive of everything I undertake (and I was wise enough to marry him). I seek out artists (painters, musicians, writers, etc.) who understand creative struggle and what I’m trying to do and can offer suggestions, feedback, and encouragement.

On the days when the above doesn’t help, I remember God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, and he created man out of dust. I am not God, but in comparison of what he created to what I want to create, I have nothing to complain about.

Take Courage and Create!