If you think you’re not creative, this is for you

Don't let talk about left brain vs right brain thinking put you off starting your creative business.

 

I understand if you feel you’re not creative.

I felt that way for years.

I said, ‘Oh, but I’m not a creative person,’ with a sigh and feeling of regret, then dismissed whatever activity it was suggested I try, assuming it to be only suitable for  “other people,” those blessed with creative abilities and talents from birth.

I no longer feel like that. I now believe that everyone is a creative person and creative skill is there to be learned and practiced like any other activity. There are many different ways to be creative and I believe you can find your creative way whenever you want to.

Here’s one of the reasons why.

A while back I decided to look into theories about people being predominantly “left-brained” or “right-brained” in terms of the way they think. It was bothering me because I'd started to think that I was neither one nor the other and I wondered if this was unusual.

I was equally pleased and disappointed to discover that it would appear the idea of being a left-brained or right-brained person is a myth. I was pleased because the idea didn’t appeal to me and disappointed because it turned out I’m not unusual after all. ;-)

It's well known that each side of our brain operates the opposite side of our body (messages from the right side control movement on the left etc). The left side of our brain deals with more analytical and methodical approaches while the right side is more creative. If you’d asked me years ago, I would have assumed that I was a “left-brained” person but, over recent years, I’ve been pursuing more creative endeavours and wondered if my right side suddenly cranked into action.

Having done a bit of reading around the subject*, it would appear that the idea had a fairly sensible origin when research into brain injuries discovered the opposite side control function, that damage to one side of the brain could, for example, impair movement on the other side of the body.

However, it then appears that the idea was developed in popular (non-scientific) terms and taken to the extreme, giving rise to the generalisation that some people are either left-brained (logical, analytical, organised, practical) and others are right-brained (creative, artistic).

That both sides work together, and that people use both sides of their brain most of the time, seems now the prevailing and, to me, more readily understandable idea.

Great news, right? Or maybe it only sounds of passing interest, but I started to wonder about what impact my assumption that I was more suited to “left-brained” thinking had had on the way I'd operated throughout my life.

Over my adult life until relatively recently, the main requirement from me in a work setting was analytical thinking, the ability to follow legislation, policies and processes, and it was necessary to be logical, objective and methodical in my approach to situations. I was able to do this and did so to the exclusion of almost anything else for 10+ years. It’s no wonder, then, that I thought I was left-brained.

However, an extension of this is that, at the time, I thought I mustn’t be capable of being creative (even though I knew I wanted to be a writer) and that I should stick to what I knew and not look beyond the parameters of my “proper” job.

It wasn't until my children were small, and I worked part-time, that I seriously considered giving writing fiction “a go”. I did feel stifled and it wasn’t until I started to pursue creative activities (mainly writing) that this eased.

Since then I’ve written four books (I’m deciding between looking for an agent or publisher and self-publishing, but that’s a story for another day), published Tapestry, a collection of twelve short stories, and launched my business. So there’s obviously been SOMETHING going on in my brain that’s allowed me to do this ;-)

But, on a serious note, this shows how easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking, “I can’t do that because…” doesn’t it? I assumed I just “wasn’t the creative type”  because I’d had no real experience of being so and for ages I ignored the recurring urge to try.

So if you’ve ever thought:

I’m too old to…

I’m too disorganised to…

I’m not creative enough to…

I’m too <insert your own fear here> to…

Here's another thought:

What if you’re not?

 

Elle Turner creative | On a mission to bring more fun, creativity and beauty to our lives through journaling

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*Further reading

Left Brain vs. Right Brain Dominance: The Surprising Truth - Verywell

Despite what you've been told, you aren't 'left-brained' or 'right-brained' - The Guardian

The Truth About The Left Brain / Right Brain Relationship - npr

 

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If you think you're not creative, think again! There are many different ways to be creative and I believe you can find your creative way whenever you want to.

  For years I thought I wasn't creative, but I was wrong. I now believe that everyone is a creative person and creative skill is there to be learned and practiced like any other activity.

 



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