An aura has formed around the creative process that obscures what it is and how it works, often with a layer of mystical woo-woo.
If you don’t wear black turtlenecks*, if you’re not running with the wolves, if you don’t hear the muses whispering in your ear, if the universe isn’t speaking to you or through you or laughing with you or maybe at you
if you’re not jolted awake at 3 am with yet another dazzling epiphany, if you would rather stick needles in your eyes than knit or read the New Yorker or rock contemplatively in a rocking chair while writing in your art journal and sipping herbal tea
if you’ve never been to Burning Man, if sunsets bore you, if you don’t believe in angel guardians, if you’ve never owned one of those little dreamcatcher things hanging in windows, if the only conversation you’ve ever had with your Spirit was about that guy you kept promising yourself you wouldn’t sleep with while continuing to sleep with him
if you’re good at sports, if you’ve never written bad poetry in high school, if you’ve never dated anyone who wrote bad poetry in high school, if you’re not even sure why people write poetry of any kind…can you still be creative?
Badass creativity is about more than self-expression; it’s about learning, process and mastery. It’s about coming up with ideas, lots of little ideas that add up to big bold ideas that just might change your life, or the world.
It’s about impact. It’s about working from that sweetspot where your gifts and the world intersect, where what you do has fascination and relevance. It’s about working close to your soul, and delivering that work to the world with style and savvy.
It’s about finding yourself – and finding an audience.
Badass creativity is a state of mind.
The world changes, and changes again. Old structures crumble. As the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman observed, his generation went out and found jobs, but his children will have to invent them. We can’t just “be who we are” but must construct personal brands and online identities. We no longer “live our lives” but design them.
We search for ways to be remarkable enough to cut through the clutter of an overcrowded marketplace — to be seen, be heard. We build online platforms to promote our creative content through other forms of creative content. Meanwhile, as the world becomes more interconnected, as digital technology empowers people to collaborate and communicate, we must find ways to influence each other toward solutions to the deeply complex problems that we face (ie: save the world).
Badass creativity is a way of life.
It’s no longer a bohemian novelty or a form of self-indulgence but central to our survival as individuals and as a species. Yet our society seems to conspire against it.
The old myths about who is and is not creative – that you either have it or you don’t — continue to shape our perceptions about our ability to come up with great ideas. (Author Gail McMeekin found that when she told people the title to her bestselling book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, people would often say, “That has nothing to do with me. I’m not creative.”)
Meanwhile, our education system continues to teach to a linear way of thinking that bestselling author Peter Sims refers to as a “death knell for creativity”. We learn to cringe at our mistakes and give up after failure. We learn to be careful. We learn that risk comes in one flavor: bad. We think of creativity as a hobby, something we can nourish in the sidelines of our busy lives.
But badass creativity is a way of observing , questioning and discovering, of experimenting and refining, that can improve every aspect of the way we live, including our relationships and health and productivity, and even our ability to feel alive.
Creativity is your birthright.
Yet in a society that bombards us with constant stimuli and neverending distraction, where the value of productivity ranks right up there with hope and faith and love, it has never been more necessary to carve out the elements needed to generate creative thinking. A creativity-committed lifestyle rarely happens randomly; you design it, through understanding the strategies that enable creativity and building them into your life.
And somewhere along the way, a badass creative makes the connection between what she makes and who she is.
She makes meaning from the raw materials of her life….that can provide value not just for herself, but others.
In this six-degrees-of-separation world, where we are influenced not just by our friends, but their friends, and their friends’ friends that we’ve never even met, what we do resonates out along those invisible lines of connection.
A badass creative understands herself as part of this web of interdependence.
Creativity binds you to your ‘tribe’ and connects you to those people formerly known as your audience. A badass creative is a thought leader, taking people someplace they haven’t been before. She brings them into something larger than themselves. She might even start a movement.
Badass creativity isn’t something you just do for yourself, but the world.
*I actually do wear black turtlenecks. From time to time.
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