“The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” ~Carl Jung
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creativity and how it works. The initial impetus behind this line of thinking was my efforts at developing writing ideas—both the daily ideas necessary to find something to blog about and the more important task of giving birth to bigger writing projects to focus my efforts on.
So I’ve been reading about creativity in Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine: How Creativity Works. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s teaching me a great deal about how to create better conditions for my creativity to thrive. (It’s a thoroughly fascinating book that I highly recommend, by the way. Look for a more in-depth book review soon once I’ve finished reading it.)
But a really odd thing has happened as I’ve been focusing on my creativity the last couple of weeks.
First, all kinds of new ideas about how I could build a platform as a writer have appeared. To start, I found an opportunity to be a reviewer for a site (in exchange for free books) that will give me a chance to get additional practice writing for an editor. Even the possibility of doing these reviews was not on my radar at all two weeks ago; now I’m expected my first books to arrive any day. New ideas about what I want to do with my business, my platform, my branding, and my social media presence keep springing into life like mushrooms in the yard after a rain. Not all of them will become anything, of course, but this flood of possibilities is amazing!
Secondly, I’ve been working on trying to breathe some life into my Etsy store to try to clean out some of the inventory that I have just not been able to sell. Just this week I’ve made some big changes that have increased my visitors (although not sales yet) in my little store. The more astounding thing has been the number of new ideas for items I could make to sell there. I didn’t even have a goal of selling anything else on Etsy since I’ve had so much trouble getting any buyers for my current merchandise.
I just had this one little problem that I was trying to solve for myself involving a way to more effectively reuse something before it was recycled. In the course of trying to solve that minor problem, ideas for how I could do it in the most cost efficient way (with as many reused and recycled materials as possible) have appeared out of nowhere at all moments of the day—even when I’m not thinking about it! From there, new ideas for ways to use up existing craft materials that have been laying around unused and ways to reuse items that are now trash (or recyclables) to get more life out of them are popping up daily.
And you know what the coolest thing is? All this creative activity feels like play! I can’t wait to try out my new ideas so I can start working on additional refinements. I want to see what other people think of them once I have prototypes—and maybe eventually to even see whether there’s a market for them. It’s not even that I’m hoping to make money (Etsy is not the best way to do that from what I can tell). It would just be great fun to have all this play be self-supporting and to know that I’m creating something that other people might find useful. How cool is that?
Unfortunately, story ideas have not appeared yet in the same kind of flood, but I am choosing to feed my muse with all of this creative play until the writing ideas I’m looking for ripen enough to start spilling forth in a similar way. I figure if I keep working the muscles of writing and of playing creatively, the ideas won’t be able to stay away.
So I’m off to play and imagine and dream some more. Who knows what cool idea might appear next? What fun this is!
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