02/03/2012 02:29 pm ET | Updated Apr 04, 2012

Getting the Creative Groove Back

"I'm not creative at all," a woman I know confided. "Not an ounce of it in me."

How could this be possible, that an attractive, fun-loving woman sees herself as completely devoid of creativity? Maybe she can't sing or dance on stage, and a blank canvas would give her nightmares. But no creativity whatsoever? Impossible.

To be human is to be creative. So, if you can safely be classified as homo sapiens, then welcome to the creative club. That's for starters. Then it's time to get your creative groove back, or to discover it if you aren't sure you ever had it in the first place.

Face it, there are times when we all feel about as creative as turnip. Everything looks, sounds, and feels flat. Then we remember those chilling words from Mrs. Snodbottom, the third grade teacher, who told us to just mouth the words at the holiday sing-along or suggested that we pass out programs instead of being in the play. At mid-life, it's time to exorcise all the Mrs. Snodbottoms of our lives.

If you need someone to tell you that, yes, you are creative, then here I am to do the job. You are, you always were, and you always will be. Honestly, though, you don't need anyone's invitation to the creative club. You were born a lifetime member.

My mother used to tell the story of the "flower arranging club" in our hometown back in the 1940s, the epitome of a small-town who's who. My mother and her younger sister, however, were definitely "who's not." They didn't have the proper pedigree to put carnations and zinnias into lead crystal vases. They loved flowers, though, and were too young and naïve to know they didn't belong in the club. Come judging time, my aunt won first place with an arrangement based in a little drinking fountain used in the hen house to give newly hatched chicks a drink. Mother was thrilled with her own honorable mention. Why? Because they owned their creativity instead of being intimidated into the corner.

To get your creative groove back, own your right to express yourself -- your ideas, personality, viewpoint, and vision. Creativity is a muscle that you exercise in your own way. The more you use it, the more you will have.

• Say goodbye killjoys and naysayers. Sad but true, all of us are more prone to believe the negative than embrace the positive. Now, I'm not suggesting that we ignore constructive criticism or feedback, but anyone who says "you can't possibly..." should be tuned out.

• Question so-called authority. Everybody's a critic these days, but do they have the authority to judge? Be a little discerning in this department. If a prima ballerina corrects your dance step, great; if it's your jealous cousin Lulu, maybe not so much.

• Know your own mind. By now you know if you have a knack or talent for doing something. You don't even have to be particularly good to have passion. All you need is your own permission to try.

• Have fun. Not everything has to be so serious as to earn a return on investment of your time and effort. Fun can and should be its own reward. So who cares if you sing off key or your dance moves resemble a camel on a skateboard? Get out there and get your groove back!