Sunday, April 12, 2015
How to Be Creative
Art? You've got to be kidding me. I wasn't artistic.
Writing? No way. I can't spend thousands of words telling a story. I was a get right to the point sort of girl.
But three years ago, words started running through my head and wouldn't go away until I wrote them down. It could have stopped there. But I decided to keep writing and just see where it would take me. I was terrible at first. And my ideas were cliche and overdone and melodramatic.
But something in my brain opened up, a new side to myself that I'd never explored before. It was this idea of doing something just for the love of it, not so you can have a certain, perfect finished product at the end. After all, the one thing I've learned from writing is that art is never really finished, it's just finally let go.
Over the last few years I've opened myself up to other artistic and creative experiences. I write little poems and songs for my kids, tell them stories I make up off the top of my head. I've started creating art with chalk, pencils, and watercolor paints. They're not great. But it's fun, and I'm realizing that's all that matters.
We all know the quote from Picasso, that Every child is born an artist. And yet we're still stuck in this mode and idea that some people are artists and some people are not artists. We still have undying faith in the power of "talent."
But I'm here to tell you different. YOU are creative. YOU are an artist. I firmly believe that everyone on the planet has an inborn desire to create. And I can tell you from your own experience that allowing your brain to open up to the experience of being truly creative is a wonderful experience. To have a vision and then to strive to put it to paper, or paint, or chalk, or yarn, or food, or music, or whatever! It's time to go there. It's time to try.
Many art books will tell you that you can tell the moment in a person's life when they gave up drawing because they realized they weren't good at it. Your current sketches are a testament to when you allowed the comparison of others to inhibit your own creativity.
But we don't create to compare ourselves with others. Creating with only the motivation of being better than others, or making money, or getting praise, will be an empty experience. Don't get me wrong. You better believe I'm trying to get my book published. But the experience of creating a story and characters is such a thrilling and fulfilling experience for me, that publication is not my only reason for pursuing writing.
I have tried to draw more. I will never sell art for money. I will never be considered great, but in just a few weeks of picking it back up, I have improved. And I feel proud of myself. But more than that, it's calming and forces me to slow down, observe, notice, and feel.
And I think that is the real power of creativity. It forces you to slow down and pull out of all the things weighing you down for just a moment and have a vision.
So how can you be more creative? It's simple.
You have to create more.
You have to step out of your comfort zone and actually try it. And when your first effort is terrible, you're going to laugh and try again and again and again. Because you're not doing this to be "good" at something. You're doing it to feel more alive. To feed that inner need within yourself. To change the way you see yourself and the world. To open up parts of your heart and your brain that you never knew existed.
Stop only doing the things you're good at. Pick up something you're not good at and just do it because you love it. Did a teacher tell you to give something up? Did someone make fun of past efforts. Tell them to shove it and try again. Do it because you're human and you're driven to create.
Stop limiting yourself to thinking that creativity is just one kind of thing. What about music? Cooking? Landscaping? Decorating? Teaching? Woodworking? Storytelling? Poetry? Games? Business Plans?
Stop being too busy. Just stop. Creativity requires time, and some good deep breaths, and a little space in your day.
Make the time. This is most important. You won't be creative if you don't make time to be creative. I'll say it again, the only way to be more creative is to sit your butt in the chair and be creative. Set aside a time of day when you will create. Hold this space for yourself. Diligently. Some days you will drag your feet. You may feel too busy. Don't cheat yourself.
Don't expect constant inspiration or joy. Some days will be frustrating. Somedays you won't be able to get anything right. Nothing will live up to your vision. You'll want to tear it up and forget about it. It will feel clunky and unnatural and unauthentic. Keep going. Come back to it tomorrow. This is not a race. There is no finish line. This is YOUR life.
Take some lessons. Learn! You can't get better without a combination of practice an instruction. Read up. Get on the internet for tips and tricks. There's so much out there to help you get started. Go find it!
Create. Create some more. And then do it again.