“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
Here is a secret: I’ve never considered myself to be a creative person. Yes, I’m an idealist. Sure, I call myself a writer. But I don’t live a free-spirited lifestyle devoted to my craft. I need structure and routine in my life in order to be productive. I’m a perfectionist, and have way too much self-doubt to be a creative person. If anything, I considered myself a wanna-be creative, but not the real deal.
Lately I’ve been reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (highly recommend). This book taught me that I can be all of the above and still be a creative person. Creativity isn’t defined by my day job, how I dress, or whether or not I’m scared. Let’s be honest, everyone is scared. People are terrified to follow creative pursuits because there is no simple way to measure the worth.
Maybe you want to write a book, audition for a local theater show, or make decorative wine glasses. But you don’t because: you don’t have the time, you’re too tired, you’re too stressed, you don’t have the talent, you don’t have the money, [insert your own list of excuses here]. Whatever the excuse, you’ve convinced yourself not to follow your creative pursuit because it’s not worth it.
You may be right. If your sense of worth is defined by money or professional success, then it may not be worth it. If your sense of worth is defined by what your parents, spouse, co-workers, or friends think of you, then it may not be worth it. I think that the people like Liz Gilbert, the ones who truly live creatively in spite of fear, define their worth by their own personal fulfillment.
Basically, they do it because it makes them happy.
I believe that most INFJs don’t define their worth by what others think or how much money they’re making. We are creative because we have an innate need to create. To live a happy, fulfilled life we need to intentionally devote time and energy to what fascinates us. Creativity doesn’t have to be a stereotypical art form. Maybe you express yourself through gardening, building furniture, or cooking. Whatever it is you are passionate about, do it.
I took a one and a half-year hiatus from publishing on this blog, right as it was starting to grow, because of excuses. Sixteen months of neglecting one creative outlet because I was busy, tired, stressed, focused on my day job, whatever.
I’m back, and I hope that you will join me in your own creative pursuits. How do you express your creativity? Feel free to share your blog, portfolio, or other examples of your work in the comments. I would love to see them!