When we think about creativity we often think about the art that is produced by an individual. We think about the writing, and the paintings, and the productions. However, being creative is so much more than the output that exists when someone puts their skills to use. A lot of individuals are creative at heart — they have an artistic nature that is influenced by things that others may not directly relate to creative expression. From being a night owl, to having a notoriously messy work environment, here are some unconventional signs that make you even more of an artist.

1. You stay up extremely late.

While others may jump at any opportunity to go to bed and get as much sleep as possible, highly creative individuals tend to stray from that norm. According to researchers, night owls score higher on various tests of creativity when compared to those who choose to rise early. While many believe that our internal clock dictates when and why we wake up, researchers do note that staying up late has a positive outcome when it comes to creativity.

Why? Because it shakes things up and causes those who are awake to think differently. Because you are awake when the rest of the world is asleep, you are putting yourself into an unconventional environment, and that lack of convention is thought to inspire your capacity to develop an atypical spirit, and find alternative and unique solutions.

2. You are vehemently curious.

Others may not understand why you need to constantly ask questions, and seek out new experiences, but if you are the type that craves knowledge, and new states of mind, it is because you are highly creative. As a creative individual you have within you an openness to experience, and this drives curiosity in every facet of your life. Because of this curiosity, you are constantly being introduced to new emotions, fantasies, and explorations, which all funnel into your art because they expand you as a human being. When you see the world in new ways, you can create in new ways, and to constantly strive to learn something every single day is your way of setting yourself up to be awed into inspiration.

3. You are observant, and see beauty in every situation.

You are the type of person who has the capacity to notice the smallest, most beautiful moments in life that often tend to pass others by. This is not only because you are innately curious, but it is because you know that the world is filled with layers of inspiration just waiting to be discovered. You strive to see more, to feel more, to do more, and this has opened your eyes and forced you to see even the most ordinary things as extraordinary. You never allow for anything to be put into a box, or a boundary, and this causes you to notice more about situations than meets the eye.

4. You are always daydreaming.

Because your inner world is teeming with fantasy and imagination, you can sometimes come off as aloof to others due to being in your head so much. People who are creatives at heart have a tendency to fall in love with the worlds they have inside of themselves, because the storylines, the colours, and the vidiness of their visions are so much richer than that of everyday life.

And while daydreaming may seem mindless to some, there are many studies that suggest that is actually requires the daydreamer to enter into a highly engaged brain state. Because of this, daydreaming can cause connections and insights relative to all aspects of creativity and imagination, and it can be the turning point when it comes to things like writers block, or a lack of focus because it forces you to fully interact with your own mind and explore it.

5. You are considered highly emotional.

Because you are the type of person who has opened their heart to bringing the world to life creatively, you are highly sensitive to it, and this can cause you to be extremely emotional. As a creative, it is your duty to see life from all angles, to take it in and to feel everything as a means of inspiring art within yourself. So while others may not understand why you are so deeply affected by all that occurs in your life, other creatives see that as their baseline.

Research has found that while some “average” individuals are highly sensitive, that number increases when it comes to those who are in creative fields. And this makes sense, because musicians, painters, writers, etc have complex inner lives, and are often considered to be empaths because of the way they take on experience as a means of fuelling expression. To be so sensitive to all of the beauty, pain, and reality this world has to offer, is to fuel a very rich creative output, but it does cause one to be highly emotional due to the level of connection it requires. For a lot of artists, it is difficult to disconnect, and this can cause them to often become overwhelmed in their feeling.

6. You dislike social norms / conventions

While your friends may play by the rules and and do things by the book, you are the type of person who is ever seeking, and this causes you to take risks. In taking these risks, you expand your mind, and you start to see the world as being vast and expansive. To be creative is to be innovative, and you have learned very quickly that in order to be innovative you have to do things differently, you have to seek different things, and you have to be uncomfortable in a world that is sometimes too eager to stay still and comfortable. Art is meant to disturb the ordinary, it is meant to ask questions, it is meant to make people think differently, and in order to create art like that, you have to do so yourself.

7. You tend to be sarcastic.

While those who are sarcastic may be seen as rude or unsophisticated to others who do not appreciate unique quips and jokes, scientists actually believe that these sarcastic individuals are more likely to be creatively inclined than their unappreciative counterparts.

Because our brains aren’t accustomed to having to decipher underlying meaning in words that seem literal, when we hear something or say something sarcastic, it forces our mind to think in unusual ways. This jolts the brain into perceiving speech differently, which is a catalyst for creativity because it starts to engage varying areas of the cerebrum.

So, remember — being able to showcase wit, and to think quickly on your feet, when it comes to banter is actually helping your art, even if those around you may not think it is.

8. Your desk or workplace is messy.

While others may think you are just making excuses for being messy and lazy when it comes to cleaning up your workspace, scientists actually believe that it simply just means that you are more creatively inclined than those who are cleaner than you.

According to certain studies, a disorganized desk and work environment can drive inner creativity. When conducting experiments to see how messy rooms affected people’s art, researchers found that disorderly environments represented a break from tradition, and a sense of freedom in certain individuals, which helped to produce fresh, and creative insights. On the other hand, orderly environments only encouraged certain participants to stay within a boundary of thought, and individuals that thrived in these kinds of spaces were more likely to play it safe.

9. You seclude yourself.

Rollo May, a famous creative, once wrote “In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.” And rightfully so, as it is very well known that a lot of creatives often need to seek out solitude in order to connect deeply with their inner worlds.

If you are the type of person who feels most creatively recharged and inspired when you have the capacity to sit with yourself and lean into all that you are feeling, and envisioning, you aren’t a loner — you are just deeply creative. In order to express the things going on in your mind, you need to be able to get in touch with them, and for a lot of creatives at heart, this relies heavily on a need for introversion that a lot of others may not fully understand.

10. You lose track of time often.

If you are the type of person who gets so involved in the things that they are doing, to the point of missing phone calls, or forgetting about plans, you may not be as flakey as others insist you are. You could just be highly creative, and entering your flow state.

Creatives at heart all have a “zone” that they enter into when they are doing something that artistically inspires and engages them. This flow state allows for those individuals to fully immerse themselves in their vision, and it is often referred to as the state of being that allows for artists to create at their highest level and skill. However, it is also known that when someone is in this form of flow, they tend to be turned off to any internal or external pressures and distractions, and this causes them to lose track of time and responsibility.