Creativity Myth #8: You Must Have Passion to Be Creative

This Fall Quarter, students enrolled in Courtney Putnam’s HUMAN 210 course (part one in the year-long series to produce Cascadia’s creative arts magazine Yours Truly) are reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and debunking common myths about creativity, myths that Gilbert addresses in her book. In the following post, Cascadia students Lydia and Haley address the myth that you must have passion to be creative.

Creativity Doesn’t Always Begin with Passion

by Lydia Altenberger and Haley Hendrickson

Can you only be creative if you’re passionate about something? I believe passion is something that can be built or grown into. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, she discusses this misunderstanding where people believe that you can only be creative if you have passion.

buildingIn my situation, I, Lydia, signed up for Magazine Publication at Cascadia to fulfill a credit— nothing more than that. I didn’t think I would find my passion in this class. After completing a project for our course, which involved creating a poster and stickers, I found out that I loved it. Before I knew it, I started to become interested in graphic design. Everything about it made me excited. It was all so crazy for me, especially since I never expected to find a passion for graphic design. I guess you could say it was hiding away, just waiting to come out. All I had to do was let myself explore new things. As Gilbert writes, “I have chosen to believe that a desire to be creative was encoded into my DNA for reasons I will never know, and that creativity will not go away from me unless I forcibly kick it away, or poison it dead.”

I think it’s safe to say that I am not artistic in any way, shape, or form. Despite this, I, Haley, have had many firsthand experiences that prove you don’t girl-flowersneed passion to create something great. When I was in high school I took a ceramics class, and I only took it because I needed the art credit to graduate. Our first assignment was to make a clay pot. We essentially had to create art out of just a slab of clay, and this seemed impossible to me. I started looking through a book of all the different types of pots we could make with the hope that it would give me inspiration. After a while, I just decided to flip to a random page and recreate the pot I landed on. Once the pot came out of the kiln, it surprisingly looked pretty good. Next, I needed to paint it, and I already had a pattern in mind that I really liked. As I painted the pot, I started to love it. I would even stay late after school to spend more time on it. Now, this same pot I created from flipping to a page in an art book is on a cabinet for display in my house, and I can honestly say I am very proud of what I created.

I don’t believe you need to start out being passionate about something. Passion can be built over time, while you explore different creative possibilities. You may find yourself falling in love with something you didn’t expect, which is where I believe passion can come from.

Please send us your prose, poetry, and visual art! Our submission deadline is December 31, 2016. Learn more here:

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