Every situation, every experience, has the opportunity for creative growth.
Birth. Death. Marriage. Kids. A new job. A new career. Friendships. Hobbies. Vacations.
Even when you’re feeling stuck and have no idea what to do next.
All of it. Every single step we make holds the power to nudge you towards creative growth.
But what is creative growth? And how does it relate to midlife?
Creative – relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas
Growth – the process of developing or maturing physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually
To have creative growth means to spark something new inside that allows you to take the next step. It’s not just a standard method of moving forward. Doing the same old things may push you towards change, but it might not necessarily be what you’re striving for.
Creative growth comes from stretching deep inside, and discovering a piece of yourself you haven’t uncovered before.
That’s what makes creative growth in midlife so opportunistic! Because you’re already in a position to create something new in your life. Travel down a path you’ve never taken before.
How do you change what you’re doing? How do you let go of the stagnation you’ve been holding onto for so long?
Stop doing for the sake of doing
When I decided to start writing novels, I had a great idea for a story in mind.
But I’m a business owner at heart. So I immediately looked for coaching to help me write, market, and thrive as a women’s fiction and romance writer.
Diving into that world taught me one thing: Successful fiction writers keep creating. They write many books, and release them to their raving fans repeatedly. If you want to be a successful novel writer, the best way to do it is schedule several novel releases a year.
And that means A LOT of writing.
I was up for it. In just a few years, I released ten books.
But somewhere in the middle of a pandemic, I lost my love of story. I wrote a 60,000 word novel, had it edited, and as I was going through revisions, I scrapped the entire thing.
Why? Because it didn’t speak to my heart.
You should never write for the sake of writing. You should write because you have something to say.
You need to feel the story.
It needs to say something to the people who will read it.
I faced this with my writing, but it works in many areas of your life. Do you keep working for the sake of working? Do you stay in groups because it’s what you’ve always done? Do you do the same things over and over again just because?
We all need to “do” things. But “doing” things because they’re built into your schedule and patterns is just wasting time. (And don’t we all fall into this a little bit as we hit midlife?)
Midlife is also the perfect time to move into something new.
Make a list of the things you do each week. Are you doing them because you want to, you have a creative drive for it, or because it’s on your list of expectations?
There’s time … a lot of it
I hear people in midlife say things like:
- I’m too old to do that now
- I’m too close to retirement
- I can’t go back to school
It drives me crazy.
Think about life in this manner.
I consider adulthood to start around 22. For me, that’s when I graduated college, got married, and started life out on my own.
Average life expectancy is 82. That puts the middle at 52.
Look at all that occurred in life between 22 and 52. Do you really want to sit around and do nothing for the next thirty years? Of course not.
And with today’s life expectancy increasing all the time, living to 92 or even 102 is totally doable.
With 30, 40, or even 50 years ahead of you, why not plan to be the best you can be.
Bill Gates stated:
“Most people overestimate what they can do in a year, and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
That’s because we’re not very good at long-term planning. We like instant gratification.
Knowing it’s quite possible for you to live 30, 40, or even 50 more years, what would you change? Use that as your guide.
Stop copying and be you
This one is so difficult, and yet it stifles your creative juices.
As a creative, we see opportunity in everything. We love to multi-task, taking on projects we think will excite us. So we say yes to everything.
Would you like to start a painting class? Sure!
Could you lead the volunteer group? Of course!
We join everything because we like to stay active. The trouble is, this much activity dilutes your growth.
A creative person needs to be creative. But a creative person also needs to know when to say no.
You can’t grow in your expertise if you’re always dividing your time. To get good at something requires a certain level of dedication to allow mastery.
I also find that by trying too many things, I end up looking more like my “heroes” and less like myself.
We all have heroes – the people that motivate us to move in certain directions. As a romance writer, I’d love to be more like Nora Roberts. The woman has sold more than 500 million books worldwide!
She was one of my role models when I wrote my first novel. If she could write several a year, why couldn’t I?
I’m proud of the fact I’ve authored ten novels. I’m also a realist and know I’ll never come close to the 200 novels Nora Roberts has written.
And that’s okay.
Because I’m the writer I CHOOSE to be.
I’m writing in a way that means the most to me.
Take the next step
Creative growth comes from stretching deep inside. It’s about discovering a piece of yourself you haven’t uncovered before. It’s about doing things that make you be a better you.
Whether you’re an artist, a creative, or just ready for something new, creative blocks happen when you feel trapped within the world around you.
Take a deep breath.
Realize you have a lot of time to work towards new goals.
Then get busy doing it.
Feel accomplished with what you do. Because being a creative version of you doesn’t have to be like anybody else.
You just have to be the best version of you.