Thursday, December 15, 2011

My secret to creativity

I vlogged (a little) about this here:

But, sometimes it is easier to read something than to watch it... and I wanted to expand on it, anyway.  Basically, my secret to creativity is to do a couple of things.

1.) Make stuff!
2.) Journal

I get a lot of compliments on my "creativity".  I LOVE it when people compliment me - especially on my creativity, but I want to let you in on a secret.....  everybody is creative.

 Yes!  EVERYBODY.  It is not some rare trait that only a few people have.  It may seem that way because so few people express their creativity.  And, I admit it, a lot of people do not know how to surface their creativity.  That is why I call it a secret.

Make stuff
  • Make something you have never made before. When you make stuff, you are training your brain to work a certain way.  It will be hard to do something new at first.  Especially if it doesn't come naturally to you.  You may get frustrated.  You may feel like you are wasting your time.  But keep at it!  It will pay big.  Believe me.  
  • Make something that that someone else has made.  Seriously.  This one is really counter intuitive - and one that I have just learned. When I am making stuff that someone else has made, I feel kinda guilty.  And like a loser.   I am thinking: "Why couldn't I have thought to make something as cool as this?".  But don't feel bad! whatever life experiences that inspired that person to make that thing did not happen to you.  You have an entirely new set of life experiences (and lucky for you, that one just happened!)  So, make that thing.  Make it exactly as you see it.  Study it.  See what it is that you love about it.  Now, practice making it.  Once you have cemented that thing in your mind, you can combine it with other life experiences to make something entirely new*!
  • Make different things. When you make different things, you are creating new life experiences.  More stuff to pull from when you are being creative.  So, if you do lots of different crafts, you will know lots of different approaches - and be able to use them when you are making stuff.
  • Journal authentically.  While journaling is important, if you can't be "real" with your journal, it won't be very effective in helping your creativity.  Write exactly what you are thinking.  Not what you should be thinking.  Not what you want to be thinking. What you ARE thinking.  No matter how shameful you think it is.  No matter how much you don't want to be thinking it.  Throw the papers away  immediately if you can't trust your housemates not to read it.  But write it down.  Seriously.  Journaling changed my life.    And more than just my creativity.  It changed my world view.  When I started jouranling, all of a sudden, everything came into focus.  Journaling has a way of clearing my mind, allowing me to center myself.  Let me use an analogy. Imagine your mind carrying a key. A key to happiness, a key to creativity, a key to wisdom.  But that key is buried in the center of your mind.  So there is a WHOLE bunch of stuff blocking the path to your key. Well, journaling is the shovel that removes all that stuff.  I am sure there are other methods shovels- like meditation, exercise, ect.  But journaling is what I use.
  • Journal consistently .  This one is SUPER hard for me to do.  I am not very consistent, by nature.  I love inconsistency.  It feels *exciting*.  But you know that path to the key?  It gets crowded veeeery easily. Anything can get in the way.  Thoughts, words that people say, things people do, things YOU do, anything. So, in order to make sure the key stays unburied, you have to keep digging.
I hope this helps you to be more creative.

*There is nothing new under the sun, so even when you think of something really different than you have ever seen before - you probably aren't the only one to have thought of it. 


Libby said...

You're right! That's why I really believe that children should be exposed to all kinds of creative outlet. You never know what their "thing" might be. As a kid I always loved projects and as a teacher I love to assign them, partly to see the level of creativity the kids possess. One of my hard rules for almost every single one of my projects is that you can't buy a single thing. You have to look around you and find a way to make what you need. It's interesting to see what the kids come up with.

Jarrad said...

Interesting thoughts. Now consider a few questions:
-How important is the "stream-of-consciousness" style of expression to your ability to find creativity through "journal-ing"?
-How does blogging relate to journaling and how do you decide which thoughts are best placed in which arena?
-With respect to the last point, it's interesting to note the different sentiment felt when typing versus actually writing (as in, with a pen or pencil). I would even go so far as to suggest that writing with a pen is, somehow, different than writing with a pencil. This may have something to do with the notion that the pen is more permanent, the pencil more involved with "engineering" or "school," the pencil more "grounded," etc. Each of those previous points could be developed into their own mini-blog. Perhaps I'll return here and do that once I get a minute. Perhaps I'll cut-paste this into my own blog. Perhaps I'll borrow from my own idea and actually write this into my journal, so as to see if a different feeling results.
And, see that? See what just happened? I took a comment on your blog and turned it into a self-centered rant about my own idiosyncrasies (yes, I had to Google the spelling). Heck: I can't even remember the rest of the questions I was going to ask you about your blog. How self-centered is that? How's that for stream-of-consciousness? And look... this comment is even longer than your blog. My egotism knows now bounds, I guess. Oh well, to "bring it all home" I guess I'll end pretty much where I started by saying: interesting thoughts. Seems like we all have our own secrets to creativity... and, in fact, our own things to create.
#thiscommentmakesnosense (I know, I was tired. Let me know when you plan to cook up some more muffins)