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Quote of the Week: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso

Writing Exercise of the Week: At the local crackseed store, a sign suddenly appears in the window. CLOSED TODAY, it reads. LI HING MUI DISASTER! What happened? Write for 10 minutes.

Was there a time in your life when you considered yourself a creative person? Were you teeming with ideas or finding small inspirations everywhere? Did you dream of writing a novel or screenplay, of starting your own business, of traveling around the world? Maybe it was something simple—painting your room a new color, highlighting your hair, or playing the ukulele for the first time. Maybe you tried it and it didn’t turn out as expected, or people laughed and you felt embarrassed or humiliated. Maybe someone said you were no good. They told you to give it up, to get serious and pull your head out of the clouds. As a result, you’ve shied away from anything creative or have only done it in small, careful, overly deliberate steps.

If this has happened to you, you are not alone. It’s called a creative injury, and it’s what happens when inspiration or creativity is cut short. People tell you that you’re no good, and you believe them. Your creativity is nipped in the bud before it has a chance to bloom.

Creative injuries do more damage than we realize. Losing or silencing our creative side cuts us off from possibilities. Life feels harder, more frustrating. We’re less tolerant of ourselves and others.

Our creative spirit does more than help us type words on a page or throw paint on a canvas. It keeps us open and receptive to solutions we might not otherwise see, helping us become more of who we really are, not less. The phrase, “the sky is the limit,” is how creative people see life.

Creativity is about exploration and expression. It’s about connection. You can’t fail at this. Really. And you need your creativity side. It’ll get you out of a miserable relationship, it’ll fuel your desire for fun, it’ll help you make a contribution to the world that goes beyond you. Want to make your mark? Get creative. Want to make a difference? Get creative. Want to stay sane? Get creative.

Every person is born creative, and it’s up to you to discover your creative gifts, interests, and passions. If you’ve suffered a creative injury, you need immediate creative healing (yes, I just said that). It may be uncomfortable for a little while, possibly even painful depending on the extent of your creative injury. Your left brain will switch into alarm mode and come up with reasons to abandon these creative efforts. Stay with it. Take a class, in person or online. Read a book. Watch a how-to video. Keep a journal. Sketch, paint, work with wood or clay. Have Matt at Waimea Instant Printing make up new business cards showcasing a new creative venture—make up something wild and crazy. Pin up pictures that inspire you, that make you feel good, that get you thinking and motivated. Ignore people who make you feel bad or who scoff or limit your creative efforts. Excuse yourself from their company as quickly as possible. Make it a priority to nurture yourself back to creative health.

Darien Gee is a national bestselling author based in Waimea. She is the author of the novels, The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society and Frienddship Bread, both published by Random House. She also writes under the name Mia King. Her next five-week memoir workshop begins July 22 at Waimea Community Education and includes a copy of her latest book, Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir: Advice and Exercises to Help You Tell Your Story (Watermark Publishing). Learn more at