Fern & Oak


What is creative living?

I enjoy a creative life. I am a creative person. And so are you.

Bold statements, you might think - some of which you might also disagree with. That’s okay, I’m going to try and explain what I mean by my bold statements, and how everyone can bring a little creativity into their life.

The word creativity, in my experience, is often associated with or defined by practicing the arts and for some reason it has become an accolade that many people don’t feel they could ever achieve. To live a creative life, you must be able to draw, paint, write or play a musical instrument? Right? Well, actually…. No, I wholeheartedly disagree with that perception!

Creativity comes in many forms, in many pursuits and passions. It is not limited to being able to perfectly shade an apple or write a tear-jerking sonata. Technically speaking, creativity is defined as “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.” This can be applied to more or less anything grown, cultivated, birthed, invented or imagined by anyone at all. One of my life heros, Liz Gilbert, defines creativity pretty eloquently and succinctly:

“If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

I’ve found over the years, as I have grown in my own confidence, I talk to more and more people about one of my particular creative passions in life, which is painting. As I have approached the topic of something that I derive great pleasure from, I’ve also noticed that quite a lot of the time, there tends to be a response or reaction along the lines of “oh, I wish I was creative” or “I don’t have a creative bone in my body” or “I’m not a creative person”.

Statements like this make me feel uncomfortable and I often don’t know what to say. I want to say, “everyone is creative, you just need to find what you enjoy and follow that; you’ll discover you’re just as creative as anyone else” but I worry that I’ll get laughed off as over-sentimental. But, I do honestly believe that is true.  

Everyone has something special about them; something unique to them that makes their heart sing. That’s the beauty of humanity; we are all so very different, and we all have something to offer the world.

Still not sure? Let me tell you a story that, to me, perfectly emcompasses the concept of creative living. This is the story of the Italian Cheesemaker…

Whilst holidaying in Italy, I went to a cheese and wine tasting night. My boyfriend and I were the only English people there, and as he has been learning Italian, his Italian is passable; mine is (shamefully) limited to “hello”, “goodbye”, “please” and “thank you”. Of course, that meant that all of the speeches made about the wine and cheese, I had no idea what anyone was saying. The cheesemaker, in particular, gave very long speeches; up to 20 minutes per course. However, it didn’t really matter that I had no idea what he was saying. It didn’t make a single iota of difference that I was essentially just watching a man talk for 20 minutes about cheese in a language I couldn’t follow. I loved every second. And what I loved? The cheesemaker’s passion. The passion that seeped through language and flooded out in reams of vigour and enthusiasm. The pure joy on his face. The sparkle in his eye as he held up his favourite cheese and described how he had made it, how he had crafted it. This cheesemaker loved what he was talking about so earnestly, and that made me love it too. Whilst, to me, cheese is utterly delicious, but that’s as much passion I can muster; this chap had a fire in his heart. He talked about his cheese and his family’s techniques and history with such love in his voice, it was honestly touching. Despite not understanding a word, the passion for his art, his creative endeavour, his creative life, shone from within him and I saw in front of me a person who had fully embraced creative living.

What I’m trying to say is, you can be creative about anything at all. And by embracing that creativity, you are nurturing an environment within you that is creative living. In fact, Liz again says it much better than I:

“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

So, what is creative living? To me at least, creative living is living a life honest to yourself and what you love. It is authentic, and it is full of wonder.

Creative living is pursuing what makes your heart happy and full; lighting up your eyes as you talk about it. Creative living is making cheese. It is painting mermaids. It is photographing deer. It is learning Italian. It is taking your dog to care homes to provide therapy.

Whatever you do in your life that makes the world shine that bit brighter by using the gifts you have to offer; that is creative living.