How to Find What You Were Meant to Create
Find what you were meant to create with a simple habit. It all begins with paying attention, and becoming yourself.
Creativity is a Sloppy Dance Partner
Being a ‘creative-type’ person is a blessing. We get to waltz through this off-beat world, and still find a way to dance through the noise. Creatives look at the world through a different lens, seeing things in macro and micro scale all at once while envisioning dots connecting everything. During this awkward waltz, however, it’s impossible to avoid stumbles and missteps. After all our dancing partner, creativity, has some hefty feet and is usually trying to control the movement.
How can we take back the dance floor of our creative life, and find what we were meant to create? We know we are creative, but not where to apply it. First we have to understand the paradox that creativity pulls us into. After getting a solid understanding, it becomes a game of pattern recognition and paying attention. (I’m all about Mindfulness, did you expect anything else?)
The Creative Paradox
I’m not sure if paradox is the right word (which applies every time I use the word…), but digging into our creativity can often lead us into a seemingly inescapable problem. Feeling like we are wasting our creativity.
Regardless of what projects we start or pieces we create, we are left unsatisfied with our own work. Chalking it up to different ailments we think are currently plaguing our creative mind like writer’s block, imposter syndrome, or just boredom. I don’t mean to discredit the validity of these things, but there is one theme present in these ailments. Separation of Self and Passion.
Separation of Self and Passion
One thing I am learning about my brain is just how capable it is in multitasking. Sadly, I don’t mean multitasking in the “Get More Done” kind of way. Instead, my brain’s multitasking means that it can pull itself in various directions all at once. If I am writing something, and at the core I disagree with it or I am just not interested in it, I can draw back from it even while maintaining progress. Entire articles and notes written, as I check out of the process as my mind goes elsewhere.
Writer’s Block Has Entered The Chat…
When I start feeling writer’s block swell in my chest, and spreading to my wrists – I feel writers block physically in my wrists at times – there is much more at play than just not being able to pick the next word or sentence. There is something about what I am working on that is dissonant to my natural creative drive or my moral arrangements. I especially feel these things start to handicap my creativity the further I venture from my true craft – writing.
Depending on the content matter, my writing sometimes feels like note-taking instead of stringing words together. This is incredibly valuable, but equally as easy for me to ‘drop out’ of and not retain. That type of project injects direct dissonance between my “Self” and my “Passions”. My passion is being an elegant wordsmith – though my success rate varies – and the “Note regurgitation” format directly opposes this. This vice makes my drafts take longer to write, but keeping it in constant check helps keep my content true to my morals, passions, and direction. The balance of Self and Passions is what helps me fend off writer’s block, as well.
I love writing in any form. The blog posts, essays, daily journals, poetry, editorials, narratives – I love it all, and at any point I feel like I should be writing. How can we take this drive, and find the clues to lead us in the right direction to find what you were meant to create?
What Makes You a Fan?
The best way to find your true creative passion is to deeply inspect the things that you are a fan of. It will deeply help you find what you were meant to create. The things you enjoy most speaks volumes about you. Often, there are unexpected through-lines between them no matter how different they are from one another.
For me, I had to look at the things I am the biggest fan of, and pull out what draws me into them. Let’s look at 3 of my examples.
- Pro Wrestling
- Post-Apocalyptic Narratives
- Slam Poetry
These are three things that notably have almost no relation to my weekly publishing topic of Mindful Creativity. However, upon an in-depth review of them, I discovered that all three shared an interesting trait. Storytelling Frameworks & Human fortitude.
Storytelling Frameworks & Human Fortitude
Each one of these mediums feature a simple storytelling framework, with room to bend the rules and challenge expectations.
Post apocalyptic settings in books and movies are a trope as old as storytelling it seems. There is a clear framework for apocalyptic storytelling, but the ones that stand out the most in my memory are the ones that went against that framework or that tried to introduce things differently. ‘The Road’ by Cormac Mccarthy was a huge inspiration for me at a young age. Simple storytelling, simple characters – but you become engrossed in their fortitude. Entrenching you in this greyed out version of Earth that doesn’t try to romanticize societal collapse. Grey expanses of smoke, fog, and rubble – with no convenient loot to be found, and no happy ending.
What Makes Me a Fan?
Pro Wrestling is a similar setup. There is a tried and tested formula for telling a pro wrestling story. Good guy vs Bad Guy, where the bad guy gets an early advantage through mind games or underhanded tactics. Throughout the contest, the crowd begins rooting for the good guy. By the time he is able to mount a comeback, the crowd should be falling out of their seats to cheer on their fortitude. This formula pushed to its limit is where inspiration emanates. For instance, if the performers flip the script and the bad guy mounts a come back you learn an insight into their character that they have more fortitude than we expected. Inspiration from Pro Wrestling is at max capacity when someone becomes champion after I follow their career for a long time. It feels like joining the performer in their quest of endurance.
Slam Poetry is just as inspirational. A framework for reciting poetry and getting a message across though comparisons and a conversational style. Yet again, it is most effective when the framework is tested and applied to deeply personal stories of hardship and – you guessed it – fortitude.
Honestly, it’s kind of fun to go through the things you like and actually understand why you like them. I didn’t understand how important the story of ‘fortitude’ was to me until I started this article – well about half way through writing it.
Understanding your muses is the first step. Now you need to find your muse within.
Become a Fan of Yourself
We took a fine tooth comb through the things we like, and found gold. Now we need to go through our own work – whether we are proud of it or not – and finding the same remnants of gold.
Look for the through-lines in your own work. A consistent use of triangles in illustration, a common chord transition you rely on while playing guitar, or even a common theme in your writing. Anything you find running through everything – keep close attention to it and lean into it.
Our through-lines are the backbone to our creative drive. It provides the strength of each endeavour, and acts as a bridge when the creative energy drifts.
You may not like the next piece you create, I can’t change that in a single blog post. Though I think all creatives can find what stands out in each creation. Finding the similarities in singularities and oddities is where we find true creativity.
Applying the Through-Line
The last 1200 words have been a long way to say one thing. Pay attention to what pulls you towards creativity. Find your creative through-lines. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to be a fan of the things you make.
This process, repeated, is the best way to find what you were meant to create.