Living a Creative Life :: A Brief Manifesto

Wrapped Up

Living a creative life is taking joy in thinking outside the box. It’s finding abundance in the most simple things: basic ingredients for a healthy supper, uncut fabric, dirt, a camera, a crayon, a thought. A feeling. It’s the happy medium between haves & have-nots, finding joy in both. It’s taking a little and making something that’s more.

Creative living is not being satisfied with boredom. It’s seeking stimulation and not escape – well, seeking stimulation to escape from the banal. Even finding the wonderment in the mundane. It’s about being spontaneous and having a passion for life, the process of living. It’s the struggles – writer’s block, tech failures, blank slates, depression, misunderstanding, being outside the norm – and it’s the moment of clarity when passion overrides pain.

It’s a mess on the kitchen table, supplies strewn around the floor, an open door to studio that’s a little less than neat.

Living a creative life is being satisfied while always crave more. It’s the independence of knowing you’re not reliant on the status quo.

It’s about finding joy in the similarities of friends and finding excitement in the differences.

It’s savoring each moment, making it precious – but still always wanting more.

A creative life is one to call your own.

A creative life is one lived in conversation with yourself, your surroundings, your community, and your raw materials – whatever they may be. Living a creative life is a philosophy, a way of thinking, not a label, an education, or a profession. Living creatively is knowing the rules and occasionally – or more often – ignoring them. It’s coloring outside the lines and sometimes on walls. It’s daring to be different when everyone tells you to be the same.

It’s a good reason to wake up on Monday mornings. And a great reason to celebrate the weekend.

Living creatively is not separate from the everyday – it happens in between the couldas, wouldas, and shouldas.

It’s not dependent on being an artist, a designer, or a maker – although I know that you are all of those things.

{image credit: photorealist acrylic on canvas painting by leah giberson}

34 thoughts on “Living a Creative Life :: A Brief Manifesto

  1. This says it all, A heartfelt thankyou goes out to you. A creative life can be a solitary one at times, It’s so wonderful to read this and know that others understand….

  2. Wow. This post was the first thing I read this morning. What a great way to start my day! I love it. Everything is so true and so beautifully put. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and share it with all of us, Tara. I’m bookmarking it an forwarding it straight away :) Have a great day!!!

  3. I think creative people are never really lonely because are minds are always so busy thinking of new things to make, new ways to accomplish something, new avenues to try. I was just saying this morning that I am so thankful to have been given the gift of creativity vs. a mathematical mind!! I was never bored as a child, and am certainly not bored as an adult. May our passion for our art never fade, but continue to influence and give encouragement to others.

  4. Excellent post. I couldn’t have said it all better. I live in a somewhat wealthy suburb (I, however, am decidedly not wealthy) and sometimes my family and I show up in our hand-me-down or handmade clothes in places where designer labels are important and I think, “We must look kind of shabby to them.” But you know what? Everything you said here are all the reasons I wouldn’t give up my creative life for anything in the world. We’re not slaves to anyone’s expectations except our own. What freedom in “taking joy in thinking outside the box”!

  5. Thanks, I needed this today. Similar to what Angela said above. Today I’ve been feeling down..we too live in a “wealthy” suburb but are a far cry from that. My husband is a school teacher so we make a lot of sacrifices for me to stay home with the kids. I’ve been battling “but I have a degree in design” I should be using it thoughts. I spent all weekend cleaning out all my suits and work wardrobe to donate to charity. In a way I had to affirm my decision to work from home and keep on my creative journey. It was hard listening to our friend’s summer vacation and camp plans for their children. We will be there someday but cut backs are necessary for a while. I was upset until my 5 year old ran into the room dressed up in her “artist beret” and asked me for more paint so she could continue with her creation. She is perfectly happy and content in her creative world. I need to walk in her shoes more often and realize that just because I have a piece of paper that says I’m a designer…it is up to me to live that creative life. No suit or cubicle necessary.

  6. Thanks so much for this great post! I was writing about my girls today and watching a video collage of photos my husband made for my 7-year-old. I think it is currently my most powerful reminder of so much that you speak of. Amazing how kids so often remind us of the “wonderment in the mundane”. I found myself frustrated this weekend with a visit (ongoing at this time) as I seem to keep getting the message that we often don’t have the “proper tools” for the job when it comes to cooking or cleaning. In reality, we do have all that we need. There is nothing wrong with using garden tools in place of salad tongs!

    1. Julie,
      I totally understand where you are coming from – I often feel this ‘failure’ at somehow not achieving the right status or level for someone my age. I know it is because I have chosen a creative life and often look around and see how much so many of our friends have and how little we have in comparison in terms of ‘ things’. BUT in contrast I see how resourceful I am and how I would not give up my creativity for anything. Using garden tools in place of salad tongs is exactly the kind of skill you need to look outside the box and be content with what you do have. My partner has been known to, on numerous occasions, use knives and forks in place of gardening tools when toiling the back yard in determination of creating a vegie patch – as it must be done NOW!

  7. Thank you Tara for this post, it took away some of the feelings of anxiety I experience when thinking about how I approach my life and creative process. Its good to know that all my thoughts, examinations, creations, and processes are normal in some realm. It lets me know that I can continue my life the way I have been and that I don’t have to change :)

  8. Thanks Tara, awesome. Creativity in our lives is so incredibly important – it brings me my greatest joy!!

    We don’t have to be perfect, we can experiment, we can make mistakes, we can be a bit messy… and that’s all part of the joy of it!

    It’s like re-capturing childhood, when everything was shiny and bright, and possibility spread out before us in a great tapestry…

  9. Beautiful post! Thanks for keeping me motivated to follow my dream of living a creative life. Going to make something now…xo

  10. My favourite quote is one from Tori Amos…
    “Some of the most wonderful people are the ones who don’t fit into boxes”

    I love that living a creative life involves being outside the box – I *like* outside the box…. I can live with the mess, find wonder in the small things. I’m passionate about ideas and beliefs close to my heart, am embracing the simple things in life and am stubbornly independent. I pull myself up by the boot-strings when life gets me down and I *love* my craft.

    And it is absolutely wonderful to know that there are others in this world that share my way of thinking. Others that live a creative life.

  11. It’s also about being brave! Not being afraid to make mistakes, not afraid of making a mess, not afraid of looking silly, not afraid of trying something completely unexpected and new!

    A lot of folks tell me that they used to draw or wish they knew how to draw. I tell them to pick up a pencil! Doodle when you’re on the phone. Just try it! Get some crayons, whatever. I think that anyone can be an artist. Anyone can be creative. It’s about letting go of expectations and having fun, and then practicing if you feel like getting serious (though not necessary : ). Just try it and have fun : )

  12. Oh my gosh Tara, this is SPOT on! It’s beautiful. It’s everything I have been feeling but couldn’t get out. Thank you for expressing everything that I have been feeling since losing my job and branching out on my.

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  15. This is deep, an unraveling of one’s original content, an expose of one’s naked thought, an animation of same. Am simply wowed at this…am inspired!

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