Being creative is so rewarding in so many ways. First of all, it feels good; it leaves you with those wonderful warm, fuzzy feelings. You are proud of yourself. It improves your self image and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. It makes you happy to express yourself, whether it is decorating your home, making a gift for someone, or even just trying a new recipe and putting your own spin on it. In many cases being creative saves you money. Refurbishing an end table that you got at a thrift store for $5 into something beautiful does a lot for your self esteem, as well as your pocketbook!
"The most important thing for every artist and writer to remember is this... do work which delights you. If you're working only to delight others, you will shrivel up inside. Working honestly, working from the heart, is essential — that's what keeps you coming back to the page, the pen, the paintbrush. If you work hard, and write honestly, it will bring you rubies and pearls — here, or in the sweet hereafter."
-- Molly J. Anderson-Childers, Creating A Fun, Fabulous Career In The Arts
12 Ways to Encourage Your Creative Expression
1. Think positive! The first step to becoming more creative, or living a more creative life, is to change your thinking. Your own negative thoughts can put a wall up between you and your creative expression.
2. Start a blog. It will encourage you to write more often. You will see everything in a new light. Suddenly everything becomes a possible blog topic and you begin to see the beauty or interesting or unique qualities in almost everything. If you have pictures of your own work, post them. Post your ideas, your interests or your dreams.
3. Visit an art gallery or museum. If there isn't one near you, surf the internet. You can go anywhere in the world and see spectaclular sights that you might never have seen, at the click of your mouse!
4. Start a new hobby. Or pick up an old hobby that has been pushed aside over the years for the more demanding things that steal our time and energy. Find something that inspires you creatively.
Here are some ideas:
· Cooking or Baking
5. Think outside the box. Never brush off an idea as silly or childish. In fact, thinking like a child is a GOOD thing! Let me give you an example of this. Many years ago an educator and author by the name of George Land conducted an experiment. Using a creativity test he managed to obtain from NASA, he gave the test to several 5 year old children. 98% of these 5 year olds scored highly creative. When the same test was administered to a group of 10 year olds they scored significantly lower, with only 30% scoring highly creative. Lastly he gave the test to a group of adults and only 2% scored highly creative. Why? Children think outside the box. They don’t care if people think their ideas are silly. They take risks and they let their imagination soar! While as adults, we tend to think more on the “safe” side. We stick to more conventional ideas for fear that our ideas will be thought of as silly or childish. Take an idea and expand on it. Let your mind go and you may be surprised at some of the ideas you have.
6. Be prepared at all times. Always carry a small notepad and a camera with you. Most of us have cell phones equipped with cameras. Take pictures of things you find beautiful, interesting or inspiring. If you get an idea, jot it down in the notebook so you can remember and expand on it later. Sketch while you're in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or jot down your thoughts.
7. Take a class. Many arts and crafts stores offer classes on painting, floral arranging, sewing, needlepoint and many other crafts. Or visit your local library or bookstore and find some books or magazines that feature your creative interests. And again, if you don't want to visit the library or bookstore, the internet has an endless supply of information on almost any subject you can think of.
8. Spend a morning cutting out pictures of your favorite things and make a collage. Pick pictures of things that make you feel good when you look at them, things that inspire you.
9. Write one page with your non-dominant hand. Why? Your non-dominant hand and the non-dominant hemisphere of your brain are connected. Studies indicate that while using your dominant hand the dominant side of your brain is activated. By using your non-dominant hand both hemispheres of your brain are activated, so you are then thinking with both 'sides' of your brain. Research has shown that people think "differently" when both sides of the brain are activated, allowing the brain to think more creatively.
10. Don’t let the fear of what others may think hinder your creative expression. Don't worry about doing it the 'wrong' way. There is no right or wrong way. It's an expression of YOU, and as long as YOU love it, that's all that matters!
11. Create things regularly, even if it’s just small projects.
12. Practice thinking creatively. Once you start developing creative ideas, even more ideas will come!
"You can't use up creativity, creative thinking builds on itself and increases the creativity of the thinker...You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."
-- Maya Angelou
People find creative inspiration in many different ways. In addition to the 12 suggestions listed above, I regularly visit the blogs and websites of other crafters and writers for inspiration. What do you do to spark your creativity? What inspires you?