By Natalie Dawe
In an informal poll on my instagram asking my friends if they consider themselves creative, 58% answered no. That number astounded me! Sure, most of these friends aren’t in “creative careers,” and don’t paint or write or sing or do other artistic activities regularly. But they are creative in their everyday lives. With their curiosity, imagination, and perspective, they create meaningful at-home learning experiences for their kids and experiment with sourdough during Covid. They question the status quo in their communities, and creatively organize their neighbors to take action on injustice.
Part of stepping into our creative identity is owning it. It is seeing ourselves as we actually are — not in comparison to others, but as ourselves.
In the creativity workshops that Pam and I run, we ask our participants to write a “Creator’s Bio.” This bio is an opportunity to define yourself as a creator. For the most part, many of us have written bios before, but largely in the context of our jobs. Maybe we’ve written one for a company website or to distribute to a group of people we’ll be presenting to. These bios typically start like this:
Natalie Dawe is a [insert cool job title] at [organization X]. She does X,Y, and Z activities in her job to achieve these impressive outcomes (e.g. raise donations, promote world peace, make clientshappier, etc.)
So right away, who I am is defined by activities I may or may not like doing, but am supposed to do, to achieve certain outputs that I may or may not feel like demonstrate my true self. Our identity is defined by successes we have, and successes on someone else’s barometer.
The bio usually ends with a list of other job qualifications — She also spent time at [organization B], [organization C], and [organization D] — and we’re further characterized by any schooling we had.
And then finally, if we’re feeling feisty, we’ll add in a personal detail like: Natalie lives in Los Angeles with her husband.
Totally personal, right? Is this really who I am?
So, the idea is, what if you were to write a bio as a creator? If your identity is a person who lives creatively, then what would your bio look like?
The first thing I did in creating a creator’s bio was to write down all the creative things I do: I am a facilitator, writer, designer, curator, singer, dancer, interviewer, teacher, comedian, wedding officiant, path forager, storyteller, and marketer.
“Comedian? Ha!” My inner voice said. “You’ve taken five classes on being a stand-up comic. That doesn’t make you a comedian! Comedians are people who do this professionally, or at least commit a whole lot more time to this endeavor than you do.”
Well guess what? This is my Creator’s Bio.
The point of a Creator’s Bio is to free yourself of someone else’s definition of what qualifies as an identity. The science behind this self-talk is exciting. What we say to ourselves can actually change the way we see ourselves. What can you imagine unlocking and freeing as you start to talk about yourself differently? What could that mean for your creative potential, your joy, your sense of purpose?
To get started on your Creator’s Bio, consider the following (although, this is creative, so feel free to throw this whole thing out and just do what you want):
- What is your purpose
- What is your story: Where did your creativity start, what hardships have you overcome, what have you learned, what has changed about your creativity over time
- What are the qualities that make you the creator you are
- How do you define creativity; what does creativity mean to you
- Who are you becoming as a creator, with each action you take; what vision do you have for yourself
- What are examples of how you live creatively, the examples that are personal to you
- What identity do you want to have
When the participants in our creativity workshops wrote these bios, the outputs were astounding. Each bio was a beautiful, personal narrative. Each one we read felt like we’d want to see a documentary on this amazing person! Furthermore, our participants told us how empowering it was to write these. After three weeks of examining blockers to their creativity, digging into where creativity and joy intersected, and naming what future they wanted for themselves, these bios affirmed the path the creators were on, and gave them direction and conviction to keep living this creativity identity.
So grab your pen and paper, and spend 10 minutes cranking out your first draft of a Creator’s Bio. Let us know how it goes!
And just for some inspiration, here are Pam’s and my creator bios:
facilitator | writer | designer | curator | singer | dancer | interviewer | teacher | comedian | wedding officiant | path forager | storyteller | marketer
Natalie Dawe’s mission is to discover and honor the beauty of humanity and nature. In large part she does this through the creation and cultivation of sacred spaces. She has built communities among purpose-driven technologists, book lovers, democracy activists, and runners who love podcasts. She feels most alive on the dance floor at a wedding and hiking in the mountains. Her favorite projects in 2020 include: co-writing her 92 and 94 year old grandmas’ histories, creating a podcast with her sister, leading a virtual family Passover seder for 52 family members from coast to coast, dreaming up and co-facilitating the recreate workshop with Pam, writing and performing her first 5-minute comedy set, and building an indoor mini golf course made up of yoga mats and household items for her husband’s birthday. Natalie is on a journey to live an intentional, brave, creative, kind, and open life.
Pam Maxson is an idea generator, a dream implementer, an insatiable learner, and a life curator.
Pam lives creatively in spite of her excessive education and lengthy career ensconced in an academic medical center. Pam was unknowingly her own creativity trendsetter when she homeschooled her three children and developed whimsical learning activities. Pam works regularly to step into the world of abundance and away from scarcity. Pam has spent 33 years creatively designing her family, including cleaning a house in the shortest possible time, implementing egalitarian and equitable home practices, nurturing the free spirit in her daughter, and embracing the beauty in the ordinary. Pam is a mother of three amazing young adults, who have been creativity consumers for most of their lives as Pam catapulted them into fiction, chased down appliance delivery trucks to create the first tiny houses out of refrigerator boxes (if only she had patented it), and designed Halloween math complete with histograms of peanut butter cups, Venn diagrams of candy/chocolate/fruit candy, and subtraction problems written after they went to sleep (If Mom eats one of your snickers bars while you are sleeping, how many do you have left?). Pam will continue to live creatively, through crazy early morning routines, spontaneous dance parties, and whatever else pops into her head!
If you are looking to do something different to invest in yourself, while connecting with others, come to the studio by recreate where you’ll participate in activities focused on nurturing your creativity. Studios are held each month, last for one hour, and are free! In this energizing and reflective hour, you can expect the unexpected and will leave the studio feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.