Maybe this year, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives not looking for flaws, but looking for potential. – Ellen Goodman
If your creative self were to be put into a line-up and you were asked to pick yourself out – would you be able to?
Does that sound a little off the wall?
Maybe it does but would you have no difficulty in saying yep – I’m the artist, the innovator, the dancer, the knitter, the bread maker …?
Or would it be ‘Not a clue!’
Maybe ‘I think it may be that person, because I used to enjoy painting, dreaming up ideas, dancing knitting, bread making … ’
There are many creatives in this world but, I would bet, an even greater number who let their creativity fall by the wayside in pursuit of adulthood, jobs, families, responsibilities and so on.
But creativity, whatever form it may take, is a joyous thing and it is worth snatching some time out of our busyness to locate that which may have become lost. If you have reached a point where you want to become creative, or hunt down where the dickens your creative self has buggered off to, then here are some thoughts that may point you in the right direction …
Childhood – that old chestnut …
I know this is a popular recommendation – looking back to see what you enjoyed doing, which is still sage advice, but I believe that it’s worth digging a little deeper to understand what you were like as a person.
I was a nosy, stubborn, daydreaming, constantly challenging, non-confirming little cuss-bucket, who really didn’t like being around other people if I could help it, and would sit in an apple tree for hours on end writing letters to Dorothy Parker!
Yet today I’m constantly in the mix and spend hours with people and, indeed, have a people-based business – go figure!
But the clue was in my cussedness – I constantly questioned and would refuse to conform which, I now understand, are some pretty darned fine traits of someone who is highly creative!
So really, you may find the answer in not what you loved doing but why you loved doing it. My hours spent having my imaginary conversations with Dorothy contained a lot of problem solving – and that is what I excel at today. I like to find solutions to things.
Adulthood – may have buried it …but …
Okay, reaching adulthood is a mixed blessing – I could be a cussed little minx as a child because I didn’t have to consider anyone else (apart from Donny …) but I lost some of that when I grew up. Admittedly greater pleasures awaited because I could, in the main, do much of what I wanted without getting told off or sent to my room. The downside, of course, is responsibilities – we end up with so many that we lose a lot of who we were – I certainly did.
Becoming creative means that we do have to reconnect with who we were – maybe not just in childhood but five, ten, fifteen years ago and beyond. It’s not only that, there also comes a necessity to understand why we want to be creative in the here and now.
Taking a little quiet time to sit and ponder who you were, who you are or would like to be now will certainly be time well spent.
Lose the judgement …
Whatever creativity you may have an inkling for, don’t stop yourself before you start. You don’t have to share your intentions with anyone – in fact, the best creativity comes from doing something with complete abandon and following your instincts or curiosity, wherever it may take you. Rest assured, no creative pursuit is wasted. Look on such exploration as getting to know your creative soul and you will not go far wrong.
Start close to home …
It’s easy to explore where you live, but with fresh eyes – take a notebook with you and have a wander and ponder. Don’t hurry – make the time to really notice your surroundings. Note what your eyes are drawn to and ask yourself why that is so. Is it colour? A shop frontage (go in!)?, Monument? Building or style of architecture?
How come they are so creative …?
Do you already know of a creative person whose work or style you admire? What is it that appeals so much? Would you want to do the same or is there just one facet of it that appeals? Is it the person rather than the creativity that you are drawn to? Why?
They teach it you know …
Join a class! Check out not only your local area but further afield. Some really are worth changing buses three times to get there! Most are not overly expensive, and maybe even free. I’ve done wine making, book binding, creative writing, stained glass window making, photography and cheese making. Don’t worry about not being good (and I was very bad at one or two) – it doesn’t matter because it’s the experience of getting into a creative process which is worth more than the actual result.
I should also add here – I tried wood carving – I was lethal!
Seriously, I’ve discovered that I’m not really a maker of things – and you may be the same, but if you work on the principle that the broader your horizons the greater your choice then you will be on the right path to a creative life.
Bread making and taxidermy for beginners may not be a match made in heaven, but the inspiration and creativity that comes from it most certainly is.
Everything is an opportunity …
Discovering your creative self is a massive opportunity in which you will discover things about yourself that you may not think relevant. Think about your skills and qualities because, as I mention above, even if you are a cuss-bucket, it doesn’t necessarily mean that perceived defects aren’t actually of huge benefit to creativity.
What do you bring to your day-to-day life? How about time management, persistence, compassion, determination? Can you tick any of those? How about others? Do you live life with courage, imagination, playfulness?
And your accomplishments? Think about one, what you brought to it and how you achieved it. No matter if you think it is only small because it is often the seemingly insignificant that will hold the answer, or at least point you in the right direction.
Is there a thing that you currently do that may not feel creative but could start you on a creative pathway?
Above all else …
Enjoy what you do. Enjoy finding out what you like. Enjoy following a path. Enjoy the nooks, the crannies and even the dead ends.
But most of all, enjoy taking yourself out into the world and finding your creative self – no matter how many line-ups you must take part in!
When I say be creative, I don’t mean that you should all become great painters and great poets. I simply mean let your life be a painting, let your life be a poem. – Osho