[Allahummabārik. May Allah bless my writing endeavours, as well as you, the reader. Ameen]
One’s creative abilities are not an innate thing. One’s creative capacities certainly are, for mankind has been imbued with an inclination – an itch – to create things. Stories, symphonies, splendid snapshots… We can do it all. But one’s creative abilities only come about if one is willing to uncover them, and to hone them.
But how can one nurture one’s inherent creative impulses? Well, for starters, we must be willing to do things a little differently: to eat dessert before dinner; to sit on the floor and not at desks; to purchase a second-hand bike and to spray-paint it bronze, even though you already have a car. If you wish to be creative, you must not be afraid of the ‘weird’ label; you should only really fear the ‘dull’ one.
But, that being said, if we are to become true ‘creatives’, we need not do everything in an eccentric nor a spontaneous manner: the cultivation of excellent creative work will undoubtedly necessitate some routines and self-discipline. Not tedium and overall boring-ness, but sometimes we must follow the likes of Steve Jobs. Routines and lists can take many unnecessary stresses off of our mental plates, leaving a great deal of unspent mental energy that we may use to make flowers grow from beds of soil.
Be inspired, create, edit, review; be inspired again while you are already in the middle of a different project; scrunch papers up – they are no good. Start again. Create for your own eyes; create for others’. Watch some seeds bloom; watch others rot. Creativity, in most of its forms, is good for the mind, and good for the soul.
And maybe all this will take years of effort and tending to; maybe there will be prolonged periods of voids of inspiration, along the way. But our creative capacities, I would say, are pretty much endless (not boundless, but endless). They really only die whenever we do.
Somewhere in your mind, there are stories, and symphonies, and splendid snapshots, just swimming around, waiting for you to pick up a pen, or a paintbrush, or a camera, to bring them all forth from an abstract realm – the safe space between your two ears – and into the physical world.
Sadia Ahmed, 2020