The Creative Type

I never thought of myself as “the creative type”.

When I hear “the creative type”, I picture some funky artist. She’s got some colorful, loose-fitting clothes, maybe a chunky necklace and ill kempt hair. She probably salutes the sun, practices alternative medicine, and has never been on time for anything.

In fact, I probably couldn’t stand that person.

I make lists. I measure twice and cut once. I like science, and rules, and I double check everything on the Internet. If I’m only 10 minutes early to something, I feel like I’m running late. When I took an art class in high school the art teacher told me, “You make art like an engineer.”

That’s the exact opposite of the creative type, right?

Perhaps. But what I’ve learned lately is that there is a difference between being a creator and being a creative type. Art, music, movies, novels — those things don’t come from showing up late and doing whatever you want. Those come from putting your butt in a chair, day after day, learning, studying, making deadlines, struggling, over a long period of time. You simply can’t be a flake and sustain all of that.

A lot of writers talk about how writing is an itch that they can’t ignore. They simply have to itch it. No way around it. I assume it is the same for artists, composers, etc. I don’t think that’s exactly true for me, per say, but I would say that I do have an itch for creating things. It doesn’t have to be writing fiction; there’s blogging, and knitting, and writing software, and playing music. All of these things scratch that itch for me. But I absolutely, 100%, have a need to create.

I get SO EXCITED when people I know create things. Whether someone is starting a new blog, or starting a sewing business, trying their hand at fiction, starting a podcast, or making a short film — whatever it is, I am in. I don’t care if it is good or bad, as long as the effort is being made, I am excited (often, it turns out, more excited than the person doing the project, to my chagrin).

That’s what humanity is all about. That’s what keeps the vastness of space from crushing us. That’s what holds back entropy.

Only in my 30s have I realized that you don’t have to be a “creative type” to be a creator. You can be a planner, or a rule follower, or a meticulous researcher and still be a creator. Engineers are creators. So are plumbers, and lawmakers, and archeologists.

And the more creating we have, of all kinds, the better off we are.

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