Why You Think You Aren’t an Artist

art journaling class, creative self-care, you are an artist, everyone is creative


Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

I’ve been thinking a lot about why you think you aren’t an artist, when of course, I know we are all creative. This is one of the most common issues that gets in the way for folks in pursuing their creative dreams. Even for folks who don’t aspire to be a “real” artist, some struggle to even create at all because they feel the time and expense is not justified as a hobby. Why is it then, you think you aren’t an artist?

You Think You Aren’t “Authorized” to Create

Somehow you got the message that because you did not study art, music, dance, or writing at a university, you don’t have “authorization” to create. But if we step back and think about it from a wider historical and cultural perspective, it becomes clear that this is a pretty odd belief.

In many older cultures, the arts were and are woven into the fabric of daily life. Everyone has a role to play in painting, singing, dancing, writing, weaving, storytelling, dancing, or some creative endeavor. But as western culture evolved, we lost a lot of those traditions.

The arts have become a professional endeavor to be viewed in museums and on stages instead of a part of our daily lives and a natural form of self-expression. Of course I love museums, the theatre, and performance, but I think there’s also a place for the everyday creative and the experience of shared creative expression.

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Someone Told You Weren’t “Good Enough”

Unfortunately, because we think the arts are for the “gifted” and skilled, we discourage a lot of creative expression. This happens all too frequently with children – whether because they are told that a drawing is not good enough, that their sister is the “creative one,” or that their jokes are not funny enough. Many of us have a story like this.

This is a crushing environment in which to explore creative impulses, make mistakes, and produce a lot of art. Even as we write, paint, and dance, many of us are on the lookout for negative commentary and quit when we get the faintest whiff of criticism. This, of course, is where the inner critic is born. We internalize our culture’s attitudes about art and end up being harsh and discouraging to ourselves.

You Listen to Your Inner Critic

While I was thinking about writing this post, I came upon a wonderful piece from artist Peter Mohrbacher. He speaks directly to how much own self-judgment and fear gets in the way of creating. I love this quote from his post: “If you could get past what they think about your work, you could make anything. In fact, you CAN make anything. Any thinking that leads you to believe otherwise is the quiet, yet familiar whisper of your own fear.” And this fear is what I and many others refer to as the inner critic. It’s all those familiar negative statements and excuses that keep you from making something. “I don’t have enough time, I’m not good enough, I have laundry to do, If I take time for me I’m selfish,” I’m sure you could complete a long list. (And if you’ve taken any of my courses, you’ve done this exercise!)

Make Something Small

All of this is to say, I want to empower you to create. I want you to know that those creative urges you feel from time to time, or perhaps daily, are a natural, inescapable need. Honor your creative impulses by making something. So much of our lives are spent in front of this screen. Make something with your hands – something tangible, something you can give to your grandchildren. It doesn’t need to be grand, it just needs to be something of you.

Fluid Art, Fluid art journaling, art journaling class

You don’t need a piece of paper to authorize you to be creative, just your own permission. If you are looking for a way to dive into a simple, but infectious creative process, check out my new class, Fluid Art. It’s on pre-sale right now through July 9th only.


Creatively Yours,



[bctt tweet=”You don’t need a piece of paper to authorize you to be creative. #calledtobecreative #mindfulartstudio” username=”amymaricle”]

[bctt tweet=”Somehow you got the idea that someone needed to give you ‘authorization’ to create, when creating is the most natural human impulse. #calledtobecreative” username=”amymaricle”]


  1. Robin K

    Thank you. That was so great to read. It made me feel better about the crafts I work/play on! I will keep on.

    • Amy Maricle

      HI Robin – Oh I’m so thrilled to hear this. You deserve your creative time in whatever way lights you up! xo

  2. Donna Hunt

    I have always said “I’m not an artist”, when somebody comments on something I’ve made or done. I say that to myself as well, but I think I’m going * to change my tune .. I have spent my entire life creating or making something…from crafting, sewing, painting , singing, cooking,etc. all things I loved to do and needed to do for my well-being.
    I didn’t do it for self glorification, just because I had to for myself.
    Thanks for that inspiring article.

    • Kelsey Swearingen

      Hi Donna! Thank you so much for sharing this. I can say I am guilty of doing the same exact thing – we can change our tunes together. 🙂 We are ARTIST!


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