cre•a•tive: (Of a person) having good imagination or original ideas (Oxford Dictionary U.S. Version)
For the past 15 days, the Twitter account that I launched in 2008 has been suspended for suspicion of impersonation. Another user with my name claims that I am pretending to be her [yeah I laughed too]. Unfortunately, Twitter’s support department is not very transparent and it is damn near impossible to reach a human being as it is run via e-mail. I have no idea whether my account will be un-suspended. My only options are as followed: start from scratch (980 followers down the drain though?), wait around or just peace out to Twitter for good.
The last one sounds like a horrible idea, but I am strongly considering it. I am thinking of creating my own subscription service, where individuals can just subscribe to my blog if they want to hear my thoughts.
You see, I often forget, that although we use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to log our memories with photos and thoughts of our daily lives – we don’t own any of those services. So the powers that be can wipe us out temporarily or for good or they could just shut down forever. If I had my own, I wouldn’t be facing the ordeal I am facing at this current moment.
To some this may not be a big deal, but to me it is. I am very passionate about ownership, creative control and where I choose to invest my time and money.
Two years ago I interviewed Johnetta Hardy — who has taught entrepreneurship for over 15 years in Washington, D.C. as a professor at the Washington Center For Internships and Seminars. Hardy said she always asks her students, “what made you angry this week?” From there she encourages them to look at problems in their own lives and in the lives of others as an opportunity to formulate ideas that could be solutions and potential business ideas.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” – Sun-Tza, The Art of War
This is how I’ve always seen the world and I think most creatives think that way, but I understand not all people think this way.
When we think of the word creative in terms of profession, we tend to think firstly of a starving individual struggling from week to week to make a dollar out of fifteen cents from their music, clothing, performances, books, blogs, poetry, paintings, films or photography; even entrepreneurs. Then you have the creatives in the corporate media world who may have a little bit more stability such as broadcasters, journalists, advertisers, marketers, etc. Of course you should count comedians, chefs, hair stylists, barbers as well, and make-up professionals.
Creative people know from very young that they are creative. And most creative people have more than one creative talent. They aren’t afraid to step out and be different. They may daydream a lot about creating and when they are sleeping, dream about ideas. Creating is a process that happens 24 hours a day. There is no clocking out of creating. Most importantly creatives know that everybody doesn’t “get it” when they do. And that’s fine with them. “They” may catch up. And sometimes “they” may never catch up. And that’s perfectly fine with them as well.
Creatives know that it takes consistency, loads of rejection and perseverance to survive as a creative. And it isn’t the most thanked job and is quite often the most overlooked, underestimated in skill, least glamorous and not always marked with the prestige or honor that comes with being a doctor, lawyer, teacher or police officer.
What most creatives often have to accept is that even they make a mark on the world, their impact won’t last forever. Your work will influence for a time and eventually fade away. Yet they still create.
This is why many people don’t want to be creative and tell their kids not be creative. But I’m here to call that totally wrong. We all need to be creatives on some level. Here’s why.
Look around you. Think about everything that you own. Think about everything that you have bought in the past week. How many of those things were made by you or purchased from someone that you know? Where does the food you buy come from? Do you know? Where do the materials in your electronics come from? Who owns the bars and clubs you frequent often every weekend?
How does the money circulate in your community? Does it go around or go completely out and never return? Does it bother you at all that many of the products you buy are artificial?
Influence is so powerful. You have people who worship, argue, and ride or die for celebrities who don’t know them and will never know them personally. You can look up to a celeb, but at some point, you have to say yourself: “They are rich. I am poor. And when I support them, I am making them richer and they are making me poorer.” Hopefully that was simple enough for people to get.
We give tastemakers so much power over what we think is cool, but many aren’t aware that these “tastemakers” are just like you and me and somehow convinced you that they had great taste.
Even when it comes to this blog post itself. I almost published it on a popular blog community. But then I thought why would I do that, when I have my own? Not to say I won’t contribute to other sites ever again, but you have to leave yourself the good stuff.
Overall, when it comes to being creative, I’m not asking for people to quit their day jobs. All I’m saying is, take the time to create something every week. This can be beneficial in many areas of your life. It can be cooking your own dinner instead of ordering food or grabbing take out. This is a healthier obviously. It could be starting a journal and just writing down a few thoughts a day. This can provide reflection that will help you find some clarity. It could be taking up a painting class or learning how to be a mixologist. This could mean a more vibrant home and more get-togethers with friends and saving money. It could be starting a garden in your backyard and growing a vegetable. Nothing better than knowing exactly where your food is coming from.
Most importantly, there is a joy and a high that comes with creating, which is why I believe most creatives keep doing it. Most recently I took up sewing classes at Brooklyn Creative Studio and I am on my last class and I feel so fulfilled. I’m not trying to be a professional designer, but I am grateful to know how to create something from scratch. Of course we can buy every product or service at a click of a button these days, but don’t rob yourself of the feeling that comes with creating. There is power in making.
In the meantime, hopefully I can get my Twitter back. If not, I’ll get by. After all that’s what being a creative is all about.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway. – Kent Kieth
(Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons Photographer Mark Sebastian)