Creativity differs according to each individual.
Either way, how we express ourselves can be scary at times. No matter how creative we can get, there will always be jabs at us.
Some people find this overwhelming, and choose to conform their creativity to acceptable levels. Others go the opposite direction: they strive to improve their craft.
This post is about the latter, and how a movie reminds us of just how creative we can truly be. That is, creativity through other people.

The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence. -Gertrude Stein

Introducing: Midnight in Paris (2011) by Woody Allen

The movie takes place in Paris, France, as suggested by the name, when our main character Gil Pender goes on a stroll through the midnight lights.

Gil Pender played by Owen Wilson, but let’s face it, he’s playing himself right?

Seeking inspiration, this screenwriter/novelist rides on a 20th-century carriage only to be transported back in time, to meet famous writers.
That’s pretty much it. There’s nothing much to spoil here.
The journey itself however, was very interesting.
Throughout the movie, amidst the strolls across Paris for inspiration and his penchant for all things artistic, we see Gil express his fleeting nature, and look into his mind as he unravels a novel into reality.
Jumping across time, he meets various writers like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein. All of a sudden, he has this fire in him that ignites, empowering him to write the novel he’s always wanted.
As noted above, he could have written in any place around the world, but this setting was special: his creativity was unlocked on meeting other creatives.
Their presence inspires him. They argue back and forth about their perspectives on life as different writers. All this artistic chaos and everybody benefits from it.
There is no greater validation than to be in the same circle as the greats, to be nurtured and criticised by them, and to be the best of who you are.

Self-expression and creativity is affirmation that we exist.

If you’re a writer, declare yourself the best writer. But your not, as long as I’m around, unless you want to put the gloves on and settle it. -Ernest Hemingway

Whether you are a writer or creator of your own, and that to declare yourself as the best in what you do is to challenge the world to accept who you are.
Though it does end up in you butting heads with other creators (like Hemingway). The notion of calling yourself the best creates an element of empowerment within us. To be the best speaker, the best writer, etc. and to strive as such will always put us on edge.

Ernest Hemingway and all his alcoholic glory.

Are you comfortable about it?

Nostalgia is denial, denial of the painful present. -Paul, Midnight in Paris (2011)

We become uncomfortable around our idols and figures. We aren’t them: they are experts in their fields. We are just fans, followers who listen to their every word.
Why do we feel this way though? One of the reasons, is the innate fear of being judged. 
Any form of self-expression that can potentially be threatened by others makes us afraid. This becomes ten times worse when your creativity is judged by someone you idolise.
Even if they mean well, we become very sensitive to how they deliver their words: one small form of critical feedback from our favourite writer, and it feels like the world is crumbling around us.
But if you love your craft, whether it be writing, speaking or performing, you need to nurture your creativity. It can be applied to all areas of life, including business, science and the like.
Nurturing and building it helps your character, and doing so improves your ability to give value to others. We do need to expose ourselves slightly when it comes to being creative.
That is the point of creativity right? To express our inner thoughts exactly, and be 100% understood.
We all have a need to be understood.
So, are you comfortable with being creative?

Key Lessons


  1. There is a place for all our creativity.
  2. We have a need to self-express. 
  3. The people around you define your creativity.
  4. If you want to improve on anything, find creative, inspiring people. 
  5. Don’t be afraid to express yourself.

All pictures courtesy of their rightful owners: Midnight in Paris (2011), Woody Allen, and all involved entities.