That was the rather forceful admonishment I received many years ago from an intuitive, before I even got into the chair to begin the birthday reading I liked to gift myself each year.
I was a little taken aback. I thought these people were supposed to be sensitive. I had never even met this guy before, hadn't even said hello yet, and there he was, barking out an order at me that was... well... so bang on true it almost made me angry.
The truth was, I was walking in there as a shell of my former creative self. Too bogged down in life's details/paperwork (running a VFX company, a household, raising a kid, being a wife etc) and any creative pursuits had long since been pushed to the very back burner. Piled under excuses of never having enough time.
But what I couldn't see at that moment, that somehow this guy did, is that I was trying to run my car without gas, so to speak. That creativity was my fuel and if I didn't start making time to fill up the tank, my insistence on driving without it was going to cause irreparable damage.
He said I should get myself into a class. Not because I needed it, but because it would immediately get me back in the swing of things, spending time with other creatives. And I did.
Literally that day, I reached out to my old acting teacher. She happened to be starting a new class the very next week. The class was full but it just so happened that someone had just dropped out at the last minute. Because of course they did. I was supposed to be there.
The shift was instant. Even just the decision to get back to it changed things in me. Day by day I became more and more myself. It was like I had come back online. My energy improved. My excitement for life increased. And my tolerance for life's little annoyances grew tenfold. I was alive again. Next thing I knew I was writing again. Then producing what I had written and having a ball doing it. Magically, I found the time.
What I learned from this experience is that creatives have to create. If you're one of those creative types, you don't get to just ignore it, or pretend it doesn't even exist. It's not a luxury, it's a need, even more so when life gets challenging and you better find the time for it in your life or everything else starts breaking down.
Whether it remains a fulfilling hobby or becomes a full time job, is not the point. The point is that you do it. Because time spent using your creativity requires you to connect with a part of you that is deeply needed and endlessly healing. In other words, time well spent.
Many years have passed since that experience, and now here I am a writing/creativity coach. Blessed to dedicate my life to the joy of helping others reconnect (or connect for the first time) with their creative selves and watching the ways in which they come alive in their lives. And I have to say, if you're reading this right now, and there's a stirring in you, a knowing that you are a creative who's been stuffing it down or putting it on the back burner for too long, "You have to get back to your creative immediately!!!" Do it now. Get yourself roped into something before you have a chance to figure out how to put it off. Your future you will thank you.
***Holly Payberg-Torroija is a writer/writing coach and founder of Loving The Process, a coaching program designed to support writers in getting out of their own way, so they can write the stories they were born to write. Book a free consult by clicking here Her next year long program starts up in September. Will you be in it?