Fanning the Creative Flame

One way to keep midlife feeling fresh and alive is to indulge in creative activities. For some people, that means things we general consider creative arts–painting, writing, playing a musical instrument.

Too often, though, we believe we have no “right” to certain creative pursuits unless we’ve achieved some level of proficiency. “Oh, I can’t paint,” I’ve heard my friends say when I invite them to a public painting night at a local restaurant.

I’m left to wonder how many wonder, fun and enlivening experiences we miss because of an “I can’t” that is really rooted in some exterior message saying “I am not worthy.”

Can you hear that mean internal critic? Can you dare to do something creative anyway? You can even be creative in how you define creativity. Maybe you could:

  • Have your kids or friends pick a few random ingredients for you to use in creating a brand-new dish.
  • Try creative journaling, like bullet journaling.
  • Pick a project you’ve pinned in Pinterest and just give it a go, no matter if it’s more “Nailed It” than Martha Stewart.
  • Screw up the courage to try your hand at karaoke or open mic night.

I’ve been fortunate the last several years to be a regular at a fun monthly writing contest designed to shut up the internal editor and break the writer’s block. Mini Sledgehammer has been incredible for my creativity. It breaks me out of the nonfiction writing I do for my living, and it yanks me out of my suburban mom life and into a diverse and inspiring urban buffet of fascinating people.

Sometimes I win, and that’s exceptionally rewarding. But I always, always have fun and come home recharged and reassured that I still know a me that isn’t a mom, a content writer or wife. There’s still a me that’s defined internally and immeasurably worthwhile.

Go find that for you too.

(If you’d like to read my latest winning Sledgehammer, check out the Sledgehammer Contest page.)