I'm not a creative type - or am I?

As a photographer, you would think I’d consider myself a creative person. But honestly, I don’t. Even though I create art with my camera. So this got me thinking recently, what are the traits of a creative person? With one google search I found dozens of articles with lists of traits typically found in creative people and tests I could take to determine how creative I am.

What really got me thinking about this was when I cleaned up my office recently. When I was finished, my desk was clean except for a phone, computer, keyboard, mouse, a lamp and a couple of wooden block sayings. I’d been pretty busy lately and things were scattered all over my desks, the floor and overflowing into my spare bedroom. This makes my brain feel cluttered, overwhelmed and I get discouraged if I try to get any work done. So once I cleaned up my space, I felt better and ready to tackle some projects.

But, if you believe everything you read, messy desks are supposed to help you get your creative juices flowing. And can be a sign that you’re a genius. Except I prefer that things be neat, tidy and organized in my home. So what does that say about me? I’m still not sure, but let’s take a look at some other personality traits common to creatives.

1. They observe everything. My husband jokes that if he does something around the house like vacuum, I notice it right away. And I do. If something is out of place, has been moved or is missing, It’s the first thing I see when I walk into a room. 

2. They work independently. I’ve been self-employed for over 25 years and I love it. While I do have a schedule to keep with regards to appointments and pet visits, I love that I can work when I want and can take down time when I’m not feeling productive. Many people don’t like the idea of working from home - too many distractions. But these things don’t bother me. I can multi-task by doing a load of laundry in between writing a blog post. Or go grocery shopping while I take a break from answering and cleaning out emails. I’m more productive when I do things on my own time, than when I’m told to work during certain hours.

3. Take time for solitude. I love the early morning hours when the world is just starting to wake up. I prefer to start my day with peace and quiet - no TV, no computer, no conversation. I really enjoy the silence as I go about getting my day started. It helps me stay focused and allow for some creative juices to start flowing. 

4. They get motivation from within. This is so true for me. I have followed my passion my entire life, working jobs not for money, but because it’s what I love doing. One of my all-time favorite sayings is “Do what you love and the money will follow.” I’d rather make less money doing something that makes me happy than work a job that brings me oodles of money but I hate. 

5. They are emotional. Ah, if I could have a dollar for every time someone told me I’m super sensitive, I’d probably never have to work another day in my life! I wear my heart on my sleeve. And I listen to my emotions. I don’t believe in bottling them up so they can sit, fester and one day explode. Emotions exist for a reason, pay attention to what to what you are feeling. If I feel sad, I let myself cry. If I’m happy, I’ll sing or dance even though I can’t carry a tune or shake my booty with any kind of rhythm!

6. They are day dreamers. You won’t find me sitting under a tree staring at the clouds like I did when I was a kid, but I create stories in my mind all the time. Before I fall asleep, when I’m driving on the highway, sometimes even after watching a movie. Some are based on news stories, others just come to my mind. Usually there’s some element of a hero involved, often because of a tragedy. Hmmm…I may need to pay more attention to what this might mean!

7. They are ok with being different. This is one trait that doesn’t fit me. I tend to like and follow trends. I never broke any rules until I met my husband. I like boundaries and fitting in with the crowd. I read bestseller books, watch movies that are big hits, listen to top 40 music on the radio. I’d hardly describe myself as unique and original.

After combing through a few articles, I realized I do have more traits in common with creative individuals than I thought. Is being creative something you can teach yourself? I think so. I've become more creative since I started studying photography more seriously in the last couple of years. Maybe, I just need to re-think how I think of creatives including myself.


Here's a look at the space where I do almost all of my creating after the photo session. Not quite the messy desk many creative types are known for. But it works for me!