“You can’t start a fire without a spark” sang Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen.  But equally it only takes a spark to light a big fire.

I’ve been thinking about how my journey to leaving my job started.  It’s funny how a few words can have such a profound effect on your life.

Creative?

I’ve never really considered myself to be “creative”.  I’d always associated creativity with “doing art”, visual things, physical crafts.   Stuff that I’m generally not good at.

We have some good friends who’ve known me for years, and we’ve had many conversations with them about creativity.  But it was only when they took us out for a meal and brought along two of their friends who we’d only met once before, that a change of mind began.

These two people, who hardly knew me, refused to believe that I was not creative.  I don’t think it was specifically me, they believed in the creativity present in every person.

That conversation was the start of a change in my worldview, my thinking not only about myself, but about everyone.  And the start of a journey that will probably result in huge changes in my life.

Making Stuff

I’ve learned that creativity is not just painting and drawing, or pottery, or making films or music.  Creativity is a more general concept…making stuff.

This knowledge has been incredibly freeing for me, because, the truth is, I love to make stuff.  Not necessarily physical things, but…and yes I know how much of a geek I will sound when I say this…I love to make computer programs!

From little scripts that make repetitive everyday tasks quick and simple to big web applications that store lots of important configuration data.  I thrive on the challenge of solving the logic puzzles of coding and producing tools that make people’s (mine and other’s) jobs and lives easier.

And more recently I’ve had the bonus pleasure of working with some great designers to bring some designs to life as real working websites.  So, though I may not be very visually creative myself, I can feel like I’m making something not just practical, but beautiful too.

Learning Graphics

Things have now come full-circle as well.  Not only do I acknowledge and embrace my creativity, I want to be more creative!  I desire more and different kinds of creativity.  I find myself wanting to be able to design and understand the visually creative process too.

So I’ve been playing with Photoshop and Illustrator, soaking up design blogs and website galleries and praying for the gift of visual creativity.

Where now?

So where has all this lead?  Well, that little conversation in a restaurant with two people I hardly know planted the seeds of change that resulted in me quitting my job – where I don’t get to make stuff – to pursue a career where I do.

And guess what? I’m even finding the process of working out what’s next a creative one too.  I’m not just making “stuff”, I’m making the rest of my life!