Saturday, December 27, 2008

Something New Under the Sun?

Has it all been done before?

In the past week I spoke to two people, one a friend and one a coaching client, who were struggling with their creativity in similar ways. Both questioned: Why Bother? Hasn’t it all been done before? Haven’t all the stories for songs been written a million times? Haven’t all the books been written? There’s nothing new to write, or paint, or express.

Those who know me know one of my favorite sayings: “There’s always something new under the sun!” (which, yes, you’ll find on products at

So, it got me thinking again, about the “why bother?” And, yet again, it seems that the answer lies in my favorite place: the distinction between the right and left hemispheres of the brain; the logical vs the creative/emotional.

It’s true, things have been done before: The facts of things, the statements, the specific expression of emotions. So, sure, the Left Brain convinces us that there’s nothing new to express so the Right Brain might as well go back to sleep.

But that’s not the whole truth. What makes creativity so powerful aren’t the facts that are expressed, but the particular way of expressing the facts.

For instance, I can read a book about right vs wrong written by a theologian. My reaction would most likely be, hmmmm, interesting. I’d put the book down and be on my way. Or, I could read a book about vampires, where the choice of right vs wrong is extremely complicated in a fictional way, and I’ll be fascinated, and I’ll finish the book and put it down and wander around for days mulling over the choices of right vs wrong.

My left-brain friend (unnamed here), can read the same two books, throw the vampire one in the recycle bin and wander for days reviewing the theologian’s version.

We’re so individual that different approaches to the same topic reach into us each in different ways. To get to our hearts and souls, to create even the potential for change and growth in each person, there must be choices in reaching us. What works for me won’t work for my brother, or my friend, or you. Or maybe it will.

It’s the way you express your creativity, your individual voice (or motion, or color combination, or brush stroke) that is of utmost importance, not the plot line, or the brand of your toe shoes, or being able to draw a straight line.

That’s a long way around to saying that it’s essential that every person with an urge to create does so, in their own style. Because your creation has not been done before, ever, and never will be done again because it’s you that makes it new and fresh and unique.

(For those who are religious, another argument: If you believe that God created the world, then you believe that everything that exists was created in those first seven days. The only new thing to do is to recombine the elements God put on the Earth for us to “play” with.)

So, to everyone, create away!!