I have been tagged as “creative” by various friends, acquaintances, and colleagues, which surprised me because I don’t think of myself as creative — or, at least, it wouldn’t make it into my “top three adjectives I use to describe myself.” This brought several questions to my mind:
- When do I feel creative?
- How do I define “creative” for myself, and for others?
- How might other people define “creative,” and what does that say about how they view me?
- How will this integrate with the “brand” I’m trying to define for myself?
I’m not yet sure if I have any smart thoughts about this or even if I have answers to those questions, but let’s see if I can think as I type…
I feel creative when…
- I’m cooking (even if I am just following a recipe).
There is something about the act of doing something life-giving that makes me feel creative.
- I’m drawing.
I used to do a lot of realistic pencil drawings, which now happens rarely. But even drawing simple cartoons (which I’m sort of “known” for among my friends) is something that I feel creative while doing. (For fun, there’s an example below.)
- I’m making a handmade “something.”
Handmade gift for a friend, handmade card, etc.
- I’m learning something new and trying it out.
This one surprises me as well. Similar to the cooking thing, I might just be following a “recipe” of instructions to learn something new, yet the act of learning makes me feel creative.
Hmmm. It’s interesting to me what isn’t on the list: Anything that I currently do professionally! (Except for the learning something new part.)
Side note: Here is an example of one of my silly little comics, just to break up this long stream of rambling…
After making that list, I’m thinking that I typically feel “creative” when I’m creating something tangible – yummy food to eat, a card or gift that I’m giving to someone else, but even sketches and pictures that I do for myself. I’m also wondering if there’s something about having full control over a task or project that gives me full creative freedom as well, as opposed to doing something for a client who has certain expectations that I need to meet.
Thinking about other people, though, I’m finding that I will generally use “creative” to describe someone else if:
- I like the design work that they do.
- They are coming up with “new” things, and doing it well (my friend who is in the fashion design field comes to mind).
- They are good at coming up with solutions.
- I’m sure there’s more here, but my brainpower is getting drained.
Looking at that list, I am starting to see why others might describe me as “creative.”
The important question: How will this integrate with the brand I’m developing for myself? A few thoughts…
- “Creative” is a little vague for me, and possibly for others as well. I’m thinking want to stay away from using that word too much, and will most likely stay away from having it in any company name or tagline I might create for myself.
- Am I throwing the baby out with the bathwater, though? Is there value to describing myself as “creative”? “Creative” sure sounds a lot cooler than, say, “practical” or “efficient,” which are two words that I would use to describe myself.
- If anything, I should allow my work to speak for me, allowing potential clients to determine for themselves if they might think of me as “creative” or not.
- I think I might need to go back to the people that described me as creative and ask some probing questions. Now if only I knew what questions to ask…!