Creativity is our ability to dream things up and make them happen.
— Peggy Taylor

Dreaming things up. We’re all familiar with that part of the quote. Who doesn’t love conjuring up new ideas and images? Who isn’t impressed when someone takes pieces of what is and – almost magically – presents us with what could be?

However, the same can’t be said about the second half of the quote, the part about “making those dreams happen.” That side of the creativity equation gets short shrift. We celebrate the fun piece about dreaming and leave off the hard piece of making our imaginings real.

And it’s not just the hard part; it’s the scary part too. Maybe that’s why we avoid it. Putting something new into the world takes bravery, whether that’s a piece of art or the art that is you. Being creatively unique can cause the crowd to cheer and swoon, but it can also lead to being laughed at and left out. Yes, there is joy, beauty and play in creativity, but there is insecurity, loneliness and self-doubt as well. Which means that this month is not just about imagination, artistry and self-expression, but also courage.

Once that’s in view, it’s clear that we also need to talk about “co-creativity” this month. Something as daring as creativity is dangerous if we try to do it alone. Indeed, where did we get the silly idea that artists, innovators and originals are isolated, independent geniuses? When it comes to myths about creativity, that one tops the list. We need to remind each other that there is no such thing as “a person of creativity,” only “people of creativity.” For instance, new ideas come from the clash of debate. New art emerges only after inspiration from those who’ve gone before. Better forms of community are built on the back of those who have toiled and sacrificed long before we put ourselves on the line. Bottom line: there are no creators without companions!

It’s all a way of reminding us that the secret to creative self-expression is staying connected to each other. Those sacred sources of inspiration inside us – our imagination, unique voice and inner muses – are like wild animals: They are hungry to run free but are also shy and easily scared away. They want to come out and play, but will only do so when coaxed and cared for by the inspiration and support of others.

So, in the end, maybe the most important question this month is not just “What do you want or need to create?” but also “Who are your partners?”

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