Creativity- How to Remove What Holds Us Back
We were born to create.
We create ideas, feelings, beauty, and relationships,
Physical objects of art and usefulness,
Joy and children,
I believe everyone is creative. In different ways, yes, but still creative.
I was recently craving that need to make something beautiful, to expand my talents and I decided I would focus on some watercoloring.
I remembered the non-toxic Crayola set I used when I was little (and recently used with my grandbabies). Then, I painted with an abandon and a surety that I see in my grandkids. Yes, this swish looked great, a dot here. Ta-dah! Art!
I received another set one year as a late teen, along with a watercolor book. When I couldn't create the exact reproduction of what I saw in the book, I stopped. Sad, isn't it? I wanted my piece of art to look perfect the first time, or at least by the third or fourth time! I compared myself, as a beginner, to someone who had been practicing an awful lot of hours more than I had. After that experience, I only waterpainted within the lines of what someone else drew.
This time, I decided to set myself up to win.
I am usually not a throw-it-all-to-the-wind-and-fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants person, so I gave myself some structure within which to be creative. "Watercolor:Painting Outside the Lines" by Linda Kemp encourages learning about your paints hands-on and then walks you through some projects, all the while having you experiment and have fun.
I bought a self-contained set of watercolors that includes a pencil, brushes, and 24 watercolors so when I have a few minutes I can grab it and have most of what I need without having to gather items from around the house. (Now where did I put that??). I want to treat myself and do something to free up my own soul and get my thoughts out of the day-in-and-day-out box of redundancy, but I only have so much time. So set-up needs to be fast and easy!
I set a goal to do more creative projects this year. In the past, I would need to schedule this time, maybe setting an amount of time one day a week to work on it. Or work on it with a friend. This time, I have been able to work it in without feeling too guilty about all the other things that I am not doing during that time. I realize more and more that doing something creative makes me feel happy and fulfilled, which makes me more productive in other areas of my life. I can handle the humdrum when I know I get to work on a fun project later in the day or week.
Another thing that holds me back is that I want a beautiful, finished product NOW! I am learning that THE PROCESS of learning, trying, experimenting (and sometimes flopping!) gives me tools to expand my cloud of creativity. Learning a technique can expand what I know how to do, and can give my brain a jumpstart on what else I can do with that same technique or how I can add two techniques together to create a different look. Patience with the process pushes me forward.
Perfectionist tendenancies freeze me near the start line. So, to succeed, I need to embrace the imperfection! My projects may not turn out perfect! But they will be fun and freeing.
Whether I am watercoloring, or writing, making jewelry or designing materials, these are the steps that help me move forward in creativity. I hope they can help you too, dear reader!
1) Structure- Decide if you do best with structured learning. If you do, think about a book, class, on-line lesson or you-tube video to help get you started.
2) Get everything in one spot that you will need. Self-contained, if possible (think box, briefcase, or bag), for quick and easy set up, without having to look for items!
3) Set a time- This might be a day of the week, a date on the calendar, or an amount of time you will give yourself to invest in your creative side. Don't feel guilty! Creativity is important, too!
4) Be patient with the process! Learning is how we explore and grow our creativity!
5) Maybe the most important! Embrace the imperfection! If it's not perfect, that doesn't mean it's not worth doing!
Quick note on #5- This is harder than you may think! Brene Brown writes an awesome book called the "Gifts of Imperfection" that I've been reading for a little more guidance on the topic. A friend turned me on to the book, and it has been illuminating.
Have fun creating! I wish you the best and I'd love to see some of your projects!