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5 thoughts about creativity

The topic of creativity is near and dear to my heart. Brene Brown says that the key to wholeheartedness is creativity, and I could not agree more.  Creativity has to be tended and cared for to keep it going, which is vital especially if you depend on creativity in your career or to pay the bills.  So I pulled together a few thoughts that have helped me in my creative career and maybe they’ll be helpful to you too.

THE PRACTICE OF CREATIVITY

I’m learning to view my creativity as this thing that I tend to, like my fiddle leaf fig. I give it proper light, water, and occasionally I talk to it about how lovely its leaves are. The fig is temperamental for sure – mess with it too much or give it too much of something or too less of another and it starts to get wilty and brown-spotted.  So I’ve realized that I have to practice tending to my fiddle leaf fig. Sometimes I get it right, other times I don’t. Then I have to readjust and try again.  Similarly, Creativity has become a practice to me, something that I am not perfecting. Merely practicing.

REST

Creativity is a muscle. If it gets exercised, it thrives and only continues to become better and better. But what happens if it gets exhausted and doesn’t allow for rest? That’s where I found myself at the end of 2015. Exhausted, with a new baby, sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. (Love this post on early signs that you’re building up to burnout.) And when your job depends on you being creative? Well, that’s the recipe for disaster. Take time for a break. Think back to the things that have traditionally brought you joy, maybe the things you loved to do when you were a child. Is it riding your bike? Or reading a book? Or doing something else completely unrelated to your creativity?  You might be surprised how many of the things you did when you were a child will continue to be fulfilling as an adult.

FEAR

Every creative I know is always afraid of what I like to call The Great Dry-Up. What if creativity leaves? What if I’m no longer able to make anything, or think of an idea, or write another word? Every single creative person has this thought, especially when your livelihood depends on your creativity.  Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the muse that visits all of us. Sometimes an idea flitters by and it’s up to us to reach out and catch it, much like a butterfly in a net.

REMOVE THE EXPECTATION

Sometimes when I sit down at the beginning of a project, all of the possibilities are staring me in the face. So many ideas and ways to go about designing an identity or a room and it feels so overwhelming. My perfectionistic side kicks in and I think “I MUST NAIL IT PERFECTLY!” And that’s when overwhelm makes me feel incapable of making any decision and so I stop all together.  That’s when I have to step back and say “It doesn’t have to be perfect. This first step is only a rough draft.” I remove the expectation that I will create something ahhhmahhhhzing right out the gate. Because frankly, the first idea is rarely the best idea.  And then I’m able to fill up that blank page with something because I can stop worrying that I’m not going to be able to fulfill my end of the deal.

FAVORITE BOOKS

Take time to read up on creativity and its many forms.  Here’s a few books that have been game changers for me.

  1. Present Over Perfect
  2. Big Magic
  3. Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection

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