Thursday, 24 October 2013

Time to Nurture your Creativity

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a young mother who works in my bank. ‘I used to be creative’ she told me, ‘when I was young’. 

And it reminded me of a question I’ve often been asked, ‘Have you always been creative?’ 

To me it seems like rather an odd question, suggesting that we can start our lives as ‘non-creative’ and later become ‘creative’ – I believe that is the wrong way round.

When you think about some of the core aspects of ‘creativity’ – curiosity, imagination, the ability to play, for instance, isn’t it obvious that we’re all creative when we’re young? We were probably born that way.

But sadly, somewhere along the line, probably during our 'socialization' stage, our creativity got stifled or crowded out by the need to become ‘responsible’ and take a ‘sensible’ path through life. And often that’s the easier option too.

Allowing our creativity to flourish doesn't always lead to an easy life!

For instance, it can cause what I call, ‘Ideas Overwhelm Syndrome’ when we become painfully aware that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, or days in a lifetime, to carry out all the ideas that pop up into our consciousness - leaving us feeling overwhelmed! (If you are plagued with this syndrome, just google 'overwhelmed by ideas' and you'll find you are far from alone and you might even find some good coping strategies!)

And while on the one hand, we encourage creativity, and rightly so, we need to be aware of what it involves. 

As I wrote in a recent post, to nurture our creativity we must be prepared to allow time to daydream. But we also need time to experiment, time to make mistakes, to get it wrong, to take the risk that an idea won’t work out, time to allow the seed of an idea to germinate. Time that we may easily feel that we are wasting, especially in this fast-moving 'Internet Age'.

None of us likes to feel that we have wasted our precious time!!! I may be wrong but I have the impression that women are more inclined to feel guilty about wasting time. I certainly believe that we women have more difficulty than men when it comes to allowing ourselves to play.

Some years ago I knew an artist, a doctor’s wife, who came to an art class I attended even though she was already a very competent artist and she mostly just set up her easel in the corner and painted, oblivious of what was going on in the class. She travelled some distance to come to the class and when asked why she did it, she explained that she felt guilty and self-indulgent painting at home, especially if her cleaning lady was working around her. But in the class, everyone was doing it so she felt it must be OK.

The rest of the class ‘gave her permission’, as it were. 

We all need to give ourselves permission – and time! - to play, to make mistakes, to make a mess, to daydream, to let our minds wander away from the ‘sensible’ the ‘responsible’ to immerse ourselves in exploring an idea, leaving behind our  ‘destination consciousness'. 

It’s true that it’s so much easier to do it in a group. But if no group is available, we need to do it anyway. 

Are you giving your creativity time to flourish?


Christie Cottage said...

This is so true! Crafting, sewing, painting while there is laundry to be done, etc., can overwhelm us with guilt. And why?

I no longer feel the guilt. If I want to make something, I do :-)

Have a wonderful day!


Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Christie - so glad you agree! Sometimes it's hard to let go of the guilt though if it's been instilled in us from an early age - but it's always possible if we encourage and support one another through it!

Jayne said...

I let go of the guilt quite a long time ago and luckily my husband doesn't give me grief if I work on some artwork instead of vacuuming the floors. :-) Unfortunately, I still don't have enough hours in the day as my day job and commute take up most of my time. But when I'm home being "creative" I look on it as "being productive". Especially so if the "creativity" results in some nice items for my Zazzle store :-)

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Jayne - good to hear that you've let go of the guilt.

And interesting that you write 'work on some artwork'. I think the difficulty can arise if we genuinely 'play' - with ideas, with art materials, with what a computer can do for our art - especially if nothing of saleable value results.

Betsy Grant said...

Wonderful message!

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Betsy :)

Boriana Giormova said...

Great post Judy. This is so true for me, too!

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you for your comment, Boriana - it's a 'hard life' being an artist, isn't it! Hahaha :)