Even the most creative people sometimes lose sight of what it means to be creative, just for the heck of it. Work and other responsibilities pull us away from our creative impulses!
Sure, creative professionals might be doing something “creative” (if they’re lucky) at their jobs: designing book jackets for a publishing house or writing copy for ad campaigns. But I believe that true creativity is born from an insatiable need for self-expression.
Have you ever thought about something creative that you might like to do? That you would do if you had more time? Would you cook an improvised meal? Would you knit a warm-weather accessory? Would you draw a graphic novel?
If I had infinite amounts of leisure time, I would learn to play the guitar (a task which I have started and stopped numerous times), make jewelry, learn to sew, and write poetry.
However, many of these tasks require more than the time it takes to actually do them. These creative pursuits demand a meditative frame of mind, which sometimes takes hours to achieve. Think about it: would you be able to shift from a high-stress work assignment to writing a poem for fun without a break in between both tasks? I would be pretty impressed if you could.
For those of you that have trouble being creative, I have the perfect solution. My four-year-old cousin taught me that all anyone needs to rekindle creative spirit is to spend time with a child. Even better? Teach them a skill that will allow them to be creative, and you will find your immediately spark your own creativity.
When I was in college, I used to make beaded jewelry for myself. I even took classes at the Gem Cutters Guild of Baltimore. Putting together different color beads was a great break from the stresses (yes, stresses!) of college life. However, I hadn’t touched my bead box for at least two years when I suggested necklace-making to distract my cousin.
Teaching her required me to be creative because I had to explain the process in such a way that she would understand it. Helping her make the necklace required me to be creative because I had to direct her without getting in the way of her own creative process. Allowing a stuffed animal audience required my creativity because I had to accept that a pink unicorn was judging our performance.
So how was this activity my insatiable need for self-expression? Well, I really wanted to bead; I saw her as the perfect opportunity to fulfill my desire to do so. Most of the time I do want to be creative but have trouble accepting my desire; shouldn’t I be doing something more productive?
(Photo by net efekt)