The Real Difference Between Artists and Everyone Else

Melissa Dinwiddie
Nov 25, 2015 · 3 min read
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The only difference between artists and everyone else is that artists never lost their natural-born entitlement to create. Or if they lost it, they were able to find it again.

The beautiful thing is that we were ALL born with that ability, that entitlement, that love of exploring and creating, and no matter what age you lost it–7, 12, 18, 29–you can reclaim it at any time, at any age.

It’s yours for the taking. All you have to do is reach out and grab it.

How? Just start creating!

Doodle, write, sing, wiggle your body, bang pot lids together. It doesn’t matter. The human urge to create is inborn and strong.

We get shut down thinking that what we create has to be “good,” according to some narrow definition of what that means.

But it’s not about being “good.” Who cares if it’s good, if you’re having fun?

And that’s where it all started anyway: having fun. Creating, exploring, playing is FUN! Since when did that get removed from the equation, in favor of excellence and mastery and measuring up and impressing people?

Not that there’s anything wrong with the pursuit of excellence and mastery, but when measuring up becomes the focus, it kills creativity. It shuts us down, fast.

No wonder so many of us walk around thinking, “I’m not creative. I’m not an artist.”

As my friend, Chris Wesley puts it, an artist is someone who creates to express. (Click link to tweet!)

You don’t need to impress anyone with your art; you don’t need to make money from it or get accepted into shows or win awards to be an artist.

If you want to go after those things, go for it, and more power to you, but those things do not make you an artist.

Making things makes you an artist.

Making time in your day to play and make something–because it’s fun– makes you an artist.

You may not believe me on this. I understand–the messages in this culture that dictate who is and who is not qualified to be an artist are very strong. It’s not easy to stake a claim when the whole world seems to be telling you that you don’t have the right.

But I’m telling you that you DO have the right. And I’m telling you that what other people think of your making, or of what you make, has no bearing on your right to make it.

It feels really good when other people validate you and your creations, I don’t deny it, but that’s not WHY you create.

The reason to create is because it’s fun. Because it gives you joy. Because you were born to, and because you want to. Period.

So go get creating. Go get your hands dirty, literally or metaphorically, and watch your life go from grey to full color.

Go grab that entitlement you were born with, to make stuff, because that’s what humans do, and that’s what makes us feel alive.

The world needs more aliveness. Go do your part.

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