I’ve spent most of my life thinking that I was not a creative person. I thought of creativity as some magical talent that only certain people had. I don’t think that any more.
I am increasingly convinced that all creativity stems from the ability to see life with fresh eyes. And every single one of us can learn to do that, including me. It doesn’t even matter what one’s preferred creative outlet is. It still all comes back to learning to see life with fresh eyes.
This is true with the different craft projects I am working on. Several of my projects involve using materials in ways that are outside of their normal usage. The ability to see objects, like plastic grocery bags or old t-shirts, as a source of materials to make entirely different things requires seeing these objects anew. It reminds me of the creativity of children who have not yet become so used to the ordinary limits we place around the use of objects that they can imagine all kinds of possibilities for things they encounter.
Poetry, when done well, requires seeing everyday life with fresh eyes that really see what is present with clarity and focus. This seeing is necessary to allow for the creative description of what has been seen, putting language to the fresh vision of ordinary life.
Even creativity in fiction requires seeing the raw material of one’s life and imagining what would happen if circumstances where different. It requires seeing the possibilities that exist beyond what is and what has been to allow the vision of what could be.
I suppose this makes sense since creativity is fueled by imagination, and imagination is the ability to envision what does not (yet) exist. The challenge is always finding ways to make that vision in one’s imagination a reality. Fortunately, I’m learning to let go of my perfectionism just enough to allow me to play and experiment in the quest of making my imagined creations a reality.
I’ve discovered two very powerful tools that increase my creativity. One is to spend lots of time looking at the creative work of others to feed my creative imagination and looking at the tools and materials available for potential use. The second is to give myself lots of time for creative play and daydreaming. I need both the browsing for ideas and the time to process and play with them in about equal measure to develop new creations worth pursuing.
And through it all, I continue to grow in my ability to really see life around me with fresh eyes—to really see what’s there, to see with fewer assumptions about limitations, and to imagine new possibilities. The best part of all is that the same creative skills apply to writing as to my craft work, so everything I am learning is enhancing my creative aptitude for both. How cool is that?!
It’s like learning to see life with the wonder of a child all over again.
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