I Am Not A Creative

I hear and read it a lot — people referring to themselves as “Creatives.” It always makes me chuckle and I’ve thought to myself, “What kind of presumptuous hipster millennial bullshit is this?” Seriously, when did “creative” become a noun? I supposed that was an evolution of language driven by human desire to find an identity and neatly label it. Funny thing though, I recently discovered that its use as a noun actually goes back at least a hundred years. Well, I’ll be damned — can’t blame the millennials for that one I guess.

In any case, it still bothers me how this “I’m a Creative” thing gets tossed around these days. On the one hand, it can actually be a genuine occupational title. Some companies do in fact have positions for “Creatives”. Then there are people who pick it up and use it as an identity because they regularly engage in some activity or art associated with creativity. Is there anything wrong with that? Maybe not. Personally, I consider it disingenuous to label myself a “Creative”.

The main thing that bothers me about this “I’m a Creative” labeling is that I know a number of people who are what I consider to truly be “Creatives” (if there is indeed such a thing). I’m talking about people who consistently create original and imaginative works — whether photography, drawing, writing, sculpting — whatever. They think differently than me and it’s quite obvious. That’s not to say it comes easy to them. However, there are people out there who have “it” — maybe it’s genetics, early upbringing, a God-given talent — I don’t know. I just know that’s not me. My brain isn’t wired that way. While I’ve learned to do some things that are creative in nature, it absolutely does not come naturally, nor do I produce creative things consistently. It’s more like a happy accident when it happens. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience label myself a “Creative.”

It’s a subtle thing — I’m making a distinction between doing something creative and identifying as a “Creative” — “I do” vs “I am”. Everyone does something creative from time to time. However, I don’t think everyone has it in their nature to create consistently and imaginatively. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn to do creative things and be good at them.

While I don’t think I’m a “Creative” by nature, I’m absolutely a creator. I create photographs, I write, and I play music. Sometimes my work might even be described as creative. Does it matter to me? Not really. Doing those things brings me joy, so I do them. I won’t be hanging a shingle outside my office door that says “Creative” though.