Here’s the scene.
Creativity in Action
Two little blond-haired boys gathered out all the small metal cars, re-purposed the plastic racing rails, and spent hours in a world of their own making. As those tiny racers zipped down the track from the top bunk to the finish line padded with blankets, the crowd (of two) cheered enthusiastically.
Neither asked how to be creative. Those two brothers just created.
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. —Maya Angelou
Kids understand and live this simple truth.
On the other hand, adults spend hours angsting over the how, why, and when of creativity. Thinking and overthinking—waiting for perfect before doing—anything.
Who will this benefit? Children know the advantage is that they can play.
What is my purpose? Children will tell you to have fun.
But is it good enough? Children never worry about good enough. Doing is all that is required.
Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating. —John Cleese
My writing friend, Trista, created an experiment—a creativity experiment. She began with three steps.
- Examine your time. If you don’t make time, nothing will happen. Wishing doesn’t make it so, or so I’ve heard.
- Decide your focus. What do you want to do? Paint, ride a bike, build a desk?
- Create your schedule. Children skip this part. They live in the realm of spontaneity. I like that approach, but I often find that creating some routine helps me develop new habits or actions.
My Creativity Experiment
Before I read Trista’s post, I had been reflecting. For me, that quickly falls into the procrastination space.
As I was procrastinating, I realized that dreaming, writing about, and imagining what I could create amounted to creating nothing. For most of 2021, I idled away the hours pondering, examining, but never acting on much of that thinking.
My circumstances allow me to shape my time with few pressing demands. The real challenge—how to take advantage of the minutes in my day.
I’m a morning person who withers by 3:00 pm. If my creative endeavors have a prayer, it will need to occur after my morning reading and exercise around 9:00 am. There’s my window of time, between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Done.
Writing. Like those two little boys, I decided to stop worrying about good enough or who it pleases. I will write.
Photography. I have been taking pictures since I was a child. Now I want to create photographs that capture the wonder of the world around me, including people, nature, life.
Music. I have neglected this facet of who I am for many years, rarely playing my piano and guitar or singing. Music lifts my soul. I forgot how much I needed it to feel whole. Chords and tempo will rescue me when I feel drained by the afternoon. I know the beat and rhythm will work their magic.
Now we’re talking about real commitment, the “make or break it” moment. I find it easy to create the schedule and write it in my planner. But have I found my creative soul, and will I follow through?
Looking for Creativity
Ah…this is an experiment. A thirty-day experiment to test the efficacy of these steps. The only way I can fail is if I never begin.
With that thought, whatever I accomplish every day is more than I would if I continued only to dream. Every step, every action opens the door to creativity.
I’ve looked for my creativity in many ways and many places. Where is the best place? Within me. My creativity has been there all along—waiting.
Yet a life of creativity is all about change—moving forward, taking chances, exploring new frontiers. —Austin Kleon
I invite you to join the fun and experiment. Your creativity is waiting.
Be kind. Be brave. Be you.
Photo: Waiting for Creativity by Kathryn LeRoy