What does creative identity mean to you? 

I think I’ve heard people ask “what is creativity?” But when I read A Playful Day and saw her question: What does Creative Identity mean to you? under a pretty still life of lace, yarn and buttons… a quick answer didn’t come up. I felt so detached from a world where such questions could even be posed.

The question rang in my head though and I felt a pang that I know I’ve lost my creative identity. I’ve swapped it out for some defeatist broken sob story of burnout. I’ve become afraid to make mistakes, afraid to take action. How did this become ME? I used to work with joy and excitement and creativity. Why am I so broken?

Identities and mythologies

I think each person seems to have some personal mythology and a story they tell themselves. The story can change of course. Shit happens. And keeps on happening.

I know a man at the centre of a large community who identifies with a Myers Briggs “Marshal” identity. He sees this great honour and duty before him, and I think he loves the role, especially the idea that it’s rare and unique. And the community loves him for it. They see him as a benevolent dictator and trust him implicitly. It’s a perfect match of self identity and situation. If he didn’t resonate with his surroundings, he would be a tyrant or frustrated and unfulfilled.

This is what we want, to have our self-identity resonate with our situation. 

I know a woman who pits herself against all odds. To hear people talk about her is to think it’s a constant battle in all her interactions. Her versus the world. And her shouting and microagressive actions play this story out. It’s the story she creates from a self-perception and its the story others tell about her.

In this way we could say a personal mythology is self-fulfilling. 

I want to reestablish my creative identity. I want it to resonate with my situation. And I want it to be self-fulfilling in a positive way.

I don’t believe creativity is the sole domain of artists and musicians. Creativity comes in many forms to produce solutions to all kinds of problems. Creativity thrives in structure, boundary and challenge.

Doing something creatively does imply beauty, delight and joy.

When I saw these little flowers today growing in this stone wall I knew immediately that was my vision for creativity.

I need to start telling myself a different story.

I’m listening to a book called “The Accidental Creative“. In it, the author tells of challenging circumstances I can relate to and he gives specific strategies for how to maintain the creative rhythm. The modern corporate structures aim to make creativity predictable and consistent. He addresses how you can work within that system to improve your personal productivity and creative energy and avoid burnout. It makes me reflect on my recent weeks in my current job and wonder just where in the hell have I gone wrong? The book is certainly positive in that it’s giving practical strategies you can follow to work on yourself. What he doesn’t talk about is, how can we do things differently? I feel like there’s a bigger picture.

Anyway, I’m sick of my own sob story. I’m hesitant and halting.

At this point I need to reclaim my creative identity and change my story.

And be like these lovely flowers. And get back to working joyfully.