The Path of the Creative ~ by Chad Elliott #originalitybydesign


The “path of the creative” is filled with twists, turns, deadly pitfalls and glorious vantage points. I want you to understand it as such. It is not a hobby. It is not a business. Taken day by day, it is a chosen way of life.

Photo: wantitall
I was 6 years old when I started the creative journey. I gave up on my desire to be a ventriloquist, putting away my well-worn, scuffed-nosed Charlie McCarthy and Howdy Doody dummies, to become an “important” artist. I was a strange child, in a good way.

Photo: pinterest

I took my creative learning very seriously. Dead serious. I was very reserved around adults. It was my only lifeline to communicate on a deeper level with the outside world. I remember sitting on my grandparents’ living room floor sketching my own copies from a Leonardo Da Vinci figure studies book. I would hear my mom and all of my aunts and uncles praising my young blossoming artistic talent. The positive attention was exactly what I craved and I could receive it from my safe, inner world scribbling on the floor.

Photo: guitarstore

As I grew into my twenties, music became a similar thing for me. I taught myself guitar. I spent so many hours tenaciously fingerpicking my pawnshop six-string. It would not be an exaggeration to say I “played it ‘til my fingers bled.” I became obsessed with it. That same doggedness spilled over into songwriting. I wrote my first 20 songs in 5 days. I spent all day thinking of song ideas, learning the similarities and, more importantly, the differences between writing poetry and lyrics. Meanwhile, I kept drawing.

Why do I share this personal timeline? Short answer: the silver thread that weaves it all together...Inspiration. 

Photo: AthleteBiz

That is the mission. To live “in the spirit.” To be on fire. I am confident it makes the entire world a better place when people are inspired. Some people can choose to do one thing they love and sustain that fire their entire life. It just so happens, that my thing is finding a connection between many things. I am fueled by looking at the many angles of a  topic or story,  painting it onto canvas, singing it into a melody, or melting it down into a poem. I have learned that everything I’ve worked on tells the story...becomes the bread crumbs on the path to which others can follow. 

Through divorce, homelessness, and dropping out of grad school, I have fought to keep my spark ignited. I sculpt, paint, sing, and write. Each season I try to weave, metaphorically speaking, something beautiful from the thread I am given. All the while, hoping my little light is bright enough for others to follow.

I am often asked, “How do you juggle all of these things? Is there anything you can’t do?” My answer is: I am only doing one thing...staying inspired. And I hope others can do the same.

Photo: Pinterest

I am turning 45 in a couple months and I see the roots of this work slowly getting stronger and the picture is getting clearer, the finish smoother. As the years pass, I can only imagine what new branches will spring from taking this broad approach to creating. And that is the best part...the not knowing while imagining.

What I do know is that my footsteps have slowed to more fully take in the scenery, grateful for the path I am on.

This Land Is Your Land
Commissioned mural for the Woody Guthrie Folk Music Center

-Chad Elliott
Artist, Songwriter, Author, Poet


  1. I am so grateful for the path you're on. You bless many with your gifts and talents, and I'm one of the lucky ones who get to call you friend.

  2. Truly inspiring! I love, too, that you mention that creativity is different for different people. We are not all focused on one thing, and yet in those many things, the focus remains on creativity.

  3. Thank you Linda! So glad you found it inspiring!

  4. It's a wonderful path you're on, Chad. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  5. Thank you for sharing your journey and bless your family for encouraging you.



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