Visit www.harrisand.org to read more about the sandcastles; learn how they are made and see pictures of other winners and categories from this and previous years.

Looking at these sandcastles reminded me of when my family used to visit the beach when I was young. My sisters and I spent what seemed like hours playing in the sand, building sandcastles or burying each other. It was fun to watch our footprints disappear and the sandcastles crumble when the waves washed over them.

We just played. No competition or expectations of perfection. Just footprints and sand. You could say that we had our own luny landings in the sand.

Other creative pursuits we entertained ourselves with were fingerpainting, play dough, popstick sculptures and papier mâché. We were pretty creative with annoying each other and our mother too. Anything to pass the time.

Although I’d never been there, as an eight-year-old I drew a lot of pictures of Switzerland. Pictures of pointy snow-capped mountains with green pastures at their feet, speckled with awkward curly-haired sheep.

As a kid you can draw anything and it gets a gold star. We all have the creative gene, but that doesn’t mean you have to win a first prize trophy with it.

I have heard some people claim, “Oh I wish I was creative,” or “I’m just not very creative.” To those people I would say that certain things move us to express ourselves and we are drawn to do this in unique ways. Creative possibilities are everywhere and for every age.

As Margaret Atwood said in an article written for the Globe and Mail:

“[We] form book clubs and join classes of all kinds – painting, dancing, drawing, pottery, photography – for the sheer joy of it. [We] sing in choirs, church and other, and play in marching bands. Kids start garage bands and make their own videos and web art, and put their music on the Net, and draw their own graphic novels. … Knitting and quilting have made comebacks; gardening is taken very seriously; the home wordworking shop is active. Add origami, costume design, egg decorating, flower arranging, and on and on… [people], it seems, like making things, and they like appreciating things that are made.”

I started creative writing at age 10 and from that time on I knew I wanted to write. It was more than 30 years before I took this seriously and allowed myself the satisfaction of bringing that passion into my life.

Life has a way of getting in our way, or rather, we let it. Circumstance and lack of time play a major role in this. But I wonder how much of our apparent lack of or resistance to creativity is because we get in our own way? We hope for that trophy or gold star and if we don’t believe in ourselves enough, we won’t even try to reach for it.

Here are a few questions to get the conversation started. But, feel free to be creative – be different – and share what is on your mind about your own creative pursuits.

1. Have you let competition, self-doubt or your ego get in the way of letting creativity flow?
2. If yes, what have you cost yourself? If no, how has this fed you and your life?
3. In your opinion, how have the sands of time sculpted creative pursuits?

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Photo Credit: Davina Haisell