As the former CEO of a major marketing firm, and now an author of three different mystery series, I’m often asked about that mysterious and elusive intangible known as creativity. How do you catch the creative spark? Where do you find it? How do you put that puppy to work?
Well, here’s the amazing thing. Everybody has the ability to dig deep within themselves and ignite that creative spark. It’s there, simmering away, in each one of us. Creativity, believe it for not, is simply a by-product of the imagination. And the imagination is a brain-powered muscle that you flex and stretch (and polish up a little) to get it in good working order.
What stands in your way, of course, is plain old garden variety fear. You want to write, but you’re afraid the words won’t come. Or you want to start a business, but you’re afraid you won’t have the skills, or won’t be taken seriously. But the truth of the matter is, you can do it.
Let me reiterate this: You Can Do It.
Never, ever, let anyone (and I do mean anyone) step on your skis. Never let a naysayer tell you that you can’t accomplish your goal, no matter how small – or your dream, no matter how big! Don’t let anybody tell you that you’re too young, too old, not smart enough, not experienced enough, not pretty enough, or the wrong gender. Got that? You have to completely tune out the negative talk. Please don’t listen to that well-meaning relative, friend, co-worker, or random person who is subtly trying to sabotage your dream.
And, for goodness sake, stop listening to the little voice inside your head that whispers I don’t think I can do it. I’m afraid. I’m not good enough. I’m just not smart enough. Because that little voice is soooo wrong.
You can do anything you put your mind to.
You don’t think you’ve got the ability to write a novel? Then write a short story. Write an article for your church bulletin. Write a poem for your child. Start small and take baby steps. But don’t be afraid to think big and tap into your passion.
I met a woman at a tea shop who told me she was secretly jealous that I could make up stories. She told me that her five year-old granddaughter was constantly begging her to tell her a story. And this poor woman was in anguish because she couldn’t come up with a single story idea. She said, “I feel so dumb. I want to make up a story, but it’s just not there.”
I asked her, “What’s your passion? What do you love to do?”
She thought about it for a few moments, then her face brightened and she said, “Well, I’m a pretty good gardener.”
“You have a big garden?” I asked.
“My entire back yard,” she said proudly. “All flowers.”
“Then tell your granddaughter about your garden angel,” I suggested. “Or about the little toad that lives under a rock in your garden. Or make up a story about Lily and Buttercup. Give your flowers names and your story will start to take wing.”
She was literally stunned. “I never thought of that,” she said. Then a sly smile crept across her face and her voice took on a positive, upbeat tone. “I can do that. I know I can make up a story about all the beautiful flowers in my garden.”
And you know what? I know she can do it, too.
You know what? I bet you can figure out your heart’s desire, tap into your creative self, and make it happen for you.
About the author:
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 Tea Shop Mysteries, 13 Scrapbooking Mysteries, and 6 Cackleberry Club Mysteries. On July 5 she will release Little Girl Gone, the first book in her Afton Tangler Thriller Series written by Gerry Schmitt. In her previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, enjoys travel, and has two Shar-Pei dogs.
About her latest book:
Devonshire Scream, A Tea Shop Mystery, By Laura Childs, Berkley Hardcover, $26.00, 307 pages.