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The Struggle to Stay Creative by Quinn McDonald

:: The Good Coach ::
The Struggle to Stay Creative
by Quinn McDonald

Quinn McDonald

When Debra looked at my business card, she came to a full stop at the words "creativity coach." "Can you teach creativity?" Debra asks.
"It's not so much teaching creativity; it's more a matter of reclaiming it."
"But I'm not creative," Debra insists.
"You don't remember what it feels like to be creative, but it's there."
"Then why don't I feel creative?" Debra asked.

She's got a great point. At age 4, when monsters are under the bed, and children have problems separating truth from imagination, a strange socialization begins in our culture. Children’s parents or teachers begin to tell them to "act like a big girl" (or boy), to use supplies for what they were made for. A broom is not a horse, and a piece of rope is not a magic dividing line. Children are reminded there are no monsters, no fairies, just scheduled time and dinner in the van. Once the tooth fairy delivers the cash, she disappears, never to be seen again. The imagination seems to be connected to the time clock and piggy bank.
Creativity is frowned on. We are sent to school, where big classes make individuality a burden for the teacher. We are encouraged to be like the others, to work in teams, to have limited dreams and choose an acceptable career. And a career in the Arts is not an acceptable career to be thought of as a successful, contributing member of society.

When my son said he wanted to be a musician, I heard a chorus of "Tell him that's fine for a hobby, but as a career. . ." followed by clicking tongues. Not only was he wrong, his mother was odd, too, because I allowed him to study music. Just to finish the story, he’s now a successful adult, has wonderful friends. . .and music is his life and his profession.
You may have suffered from the “art is not a career choice” from your parents. Years ago, parents told their adolescents what to study. Now there is a lot less parental interference, until it comes to choosing a career. Then parents steer their children into the jobs that pave the way to financial security. Interestingly enough, my friend Jennifer Alvey is a coach whose blog (Leaving the Law) helps lawyers find their way back to the career they really wanted.
In most children, the creativity stays no matter how hard it gets steered off course. It gets buried under years of training. But it keeps peeking out. How did it get buried for you? Maybe you are a great party planner; maybe you can calm people who are angry. You may have a skill of seeing several answers to a problem. Those are all examples of creativity. Creativity is not being eccentric, weird or difficult. Creative people use their skills in different ways to make the world a little better, one person at a time. Explore your creativity--you'll be amazed and delighted at what you find.

Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach, writer and book artist. Her book, Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art will be published in July, 2011 by North Light Books. Information on the book and Quinn’s coaching can be found on


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