The Creative Discovery

Posted by Kristin Beale in Life After Paralysis on February 02, 2022 # Lifestyle

Kristin holding her comic book and smilingI've been a creative person my whole life, but my creativity didn't really spark until I was 15 years old, in high school, and fresh out of a Jet Ski accident. I took a creative writing class for the "easy A" in my first semester after my accident, and I discovered a talent and love for everything English. Almost 2 decades later, I've followed that love into being a full-time author with 3, soon 4, books on the shelves.

"Good for you, Kristin. But I'm not the creative type."

Nope, I'm not hearing it. It's not that you're not a creative person – you've misplaced or haven't discovered your creativity. Everyone has some creativity in them, but we only need to find the right outlet for it. Engaging your creative mind is your ticket toward a healthier mind. In fact, using your creative brain is proven to be the answer to living a longer life, and to fighting off things like mental decline and Alzheimer's disease.

So how can you find it?

  1. Try things, try lots of things. Take an online course, find a local class, or just go buy the supplies and jump right in. I'm a "jump right in and figure it out as I go" kind of girl, but do what works for you. Try saying "yes" more than saying "no" to trying new things because you never know! You could discover an unexpected love.
  2. Set aside time. In the beginning, while you're still searching for your happy place, set aside time in your day to try something new. This could look like: 30 minutes to color, 15 minutes to write in your journal, one online cooking class, or an hour-long Zumba dance class at the gym. Prioritizing yourself in those ways is putting yourself on the road to finding happiness, and your creativity.
  3. Take an inventory of everything you know how to do. Which of those things made you happy? Which parts did you look forward to? It doesn't matter what you're already good at, because you can improve. Unless your creative interest is open-heart surgery, it's okay to flounder a bit at the beginning. As long as it made you happy! Figure out what gets you there, and put it in your calendar.
  4. No excuses. I sat on an idea for my next book for one year before I started working on it, feigning "I'm not in the mood to write" or "I'm not feeling creative right now." In hindsight, very lame. At the end of June 2021, I made a schedule for myself to ride my bike 4 days per week, work on the book for at least an hour 3 days per week, and to eat more protein. Once I started following that plan, I reflected on my "not in the mood" excuse and shake my head; in order to "feel creative," I just had to sit down with it until I got in the "mood." I broke from the schedule, but to work on it 5-6 days per week. Not being in a "meat mood" or "bicycle mood" were too far of stretches, so I've stuck to those plans, too. I'm pretty proud about that. Make a schedule, people. And stick to it!

Especially during the winter, it's nice to have a creative outlet to take your mind off the uncomfortable of the outside, and the seasonal depression I hear hitting so many people. While I love riding my bike and going to the dog park with my dog, I'm not mad about an afternoon at my desk, drawing cartoons or working on that book I've been sitting on for so long. My creativity, particularly with my weekly comics, gives me an outlet for my imagination and for the annoyances of my every day. That is to say, if you're particularly annoying or rude to me, look for yourself in next week's comic strip (@greater.things.comics).

Kristin Beale is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of two books, Greater Things and A Million Suns, and a comic book, Date Me. Check them out and read an excerpt at https://www.kristinbeale.com/. Her comics can be found on Instagram @Greater.Things.Comics.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.