However, we are all still creative. It is in us somewhere. Whether we create delicious meals, fix cars, tend a garden, or actually paint, sing, write, or build. Creativity is an important part of who we are and adds an incredible dimension to our lives.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote an excellent book about this - Big Magic. I had to read parts of it twice because it really struck a chord with me; though maybe not the way it did with most people. Her book really encourages you to get out there and express your creativity - don't let fear control you, embrace your creative drive!
Your children will benefit by watching you create. A good role model does instead of tells. You will benefit by being creative. Creating brings about a sense of accomplishment, pride, and positive mental health.Your family can create together! This is one activity that has no boundaries and all can participate.
My life has been full of creativity - from making Barbie doll clothes with a scissors and tape, to learning how to sew my own clothes including my wedding dress. I also knit my own sweaters in high school, and made clothing for our children. My sewing talents took a turn toward quilting, and with my aunt, we sell quilted wall hangings at an art show each year.
Music has been a part of my life from my first piano lesson in second grade, to parades at Disneyland with our high school marching band. My career for the last ten years has focused around teaching, and I am energized by creating unique lessons and activities.
No, I don't think I have a problem expressing my creativity personally or publicly. What I didn't realize until I read her book was that creativity is a part of me. I could no more turn my back on it than I could on my family.
On our journey towards simple life, I have tried to align my time with activities that add value to my life; and creativity is one of them. However, now that I work full time outside the house, it is hard for me to create as much as I used to.
To give me focus, I turned to a study aid I used fairly regularly with my middle school students to help remember something - acronyms. Here is a plan to help you accomplish more creatively.
F: Find Time
As any parent knows, especially those of us who work full time, finding time to devote to creativity is like a juggling act. I often feel like I have three balls in the air and if I catch the creativity one, two others drop. I love having a whole weekend afternoon to sew or write, but that just doesn't always happen.
Instead of lamenting this, be flexible in finding time that works for you. After dinner seems to be a good time for me to sit down for a half an hour, or an hour if I am lucky. Most of what I do can be broken down into small steps that can be worked on during this time frame.
Maybe you can find quiet time early in the morning, or in the car while waiting to pick up your kids. Nap time was always a productive time. Lunch time at work can also allow you time to work on a project. A lady I worked with would always pull out her crocheting during lunch.
O: Focus on ONE Thing at a Time
If I am writing on my computer, I tend to have multiple internet tabs open. Multi-tasking is never productive for me and I get distracted easily. Also, I tend to have multiple projects going on at once. Therefore I hop from one to the next, never finishing anything.
While working on a project, you will be most productive if you focus your attention on just that one thing. Even if it is for fifteen minutes, you will be surprised how much you get done. With multiple projects in the works, pick one and focus on that one for a certain time period.
For me, this means moving into a different room with my laptop, picking a time limit, or setting a small goal. You may find it helpful to designate days where you only focus on one type of project.
C: Curate Your Materials
Facing a large amount of supplies from which to work from can be stressful and overwhelming. You have so much to choose from, it is hard to make a choice of what to use and where to start.
Last year, I finally curated my fabric collection. I know what I normally use, and what makes me happy to work with. Additionally, seven years worth of quilting books were passed along to someone else because they just caused me anxiety to look at.
With a smaller, well curated collection of supplies, you are free to create instead of worrying about using everything that you have. You have a much clearer focus.
Supplies can also mean options. You can easily spend an hour searching through Pinterest posts for a pattern or idea. Pick one and give it a chance instead of overwhelming yourself with too many options.
U: Understand Limitations and Obstacles
Limitations include time, skills, supplies - anything that won’t change fast. You can definitely address and change these limitations over time; but in the short term, you just need to understand and work around them.
Obstacles include those things that constantly prevent you from creativity. These obstacles are both positive and negative. My family is a positive obstacle. I want to spend time with them, yet that time prevents me from creating. Finding a balance is the key with positive obstacles.
Negative obstacles, like criticism from others or yourself, need to go. We are adults. We are wonderful, highly productive, creative, unique adults and we have every right to create things that bring us joy.
S: Celebrate Success
Once you have completed something, celebrate! You can celebrate privately or publicly. You might not be as brave as I was to create a wedding dress to wear in front of 100 people, but you certainly can find small ways to celebrate.
Creating a collection, in real life or digitally, shows you how much you have accomplished. I have given away and donated almost every quilted item I made, but I look through photos of them once in awhile to admire what I created.
Finally, if you have children, continue to support their creativity no matter which direction it heads. Design creative projects the whole family can contribute to. Fortunately, I came from a very creative family and it was an everyday part of our lives and jobs.
What helps you encourage creativity in yourself and your family?