Flexing Your Creative Muscle
I am a creative being. I believe we are all creative beings and those who would say otherwise are either selling their creativity short or have let it lie dormant for so long that they don't remember it exists. Remember, we all started out as children and I have never met a child who isn't creative. They say creative, funny, silly things. They make believe and pretend all sorts of things, sometimes living in a world of fantasy more than in reality. And it's not a bad thing. It is how children develop. They learn by doing. It's really a shame that this sense of make believe and wonderment and learning by doing is not something that is fostered as we transition into adulthood, because just like any skill (and I believe this skill is important), if you don't use it, you lose it. Like my piano playing skills. It's been years since I practiced. When I sit down I can still remember by muscle memory a few parts of songs but I don't think there is a single song I can play in it's entirety anymore.
But say you really like the idea that I promote here with Soul & Oak of consuming less and creating more. But maybe it scares you a bit. Getting started with something new that lays outside your know how and skill set is scary or at the very least uncomfortable as an adult. There is perfectionism and a feeling of wasting precious time and frustration by comparison of others who do it so much better than you. There is a lot to get in our way and the excuses and icky feelings that may come along with starting to create more are as varied as all of our personalities and experiences.
There are two important things to remember when facing this fear or feeling of discomfort. The first is to channel your inner child. As a child you didn't know how to be a doctor but did that stop you from pretending you were a doctor and doing check-ups on your siblings or friends? As a child you didn't paint as beautifully as Claude Monet but did that stop you from drawing up a storm and proudly posting your masterpieces on the refrigerator? No, because there was no need to be a perfectionist, only a need to do and practice and learn and grow. Because there was no need to worry about wasting precious time because creating and pretending were fun and that was a priority back then. Because there was no frustration of comparison because you understood that you were a kid and therefore a novice and there was no expectation to be as wonderful as Claude Monet. Maybe someday if you kept practicing but until then, lets have fun. This is the attitude we need to take on when we approach trying something new, whether it's a creative endeavor or not. Less pressure, more fun.
The second important thing to remember is that creativity is a muscle. If we have not used it in awhile, it is not a suprise that we have lost it. But as I said earlier, it is just dormant, it has not gone extinct. Just like the muscles in your body. Maybe you haven't worked out in awhile so you don't see the definition in your arms but once you start working out again, the muscle will again appear again, because it never really went away. It just wasn't getting the attention it needed to thrive. To continue with the muscle analogy, when you do decide that you want to start getting definition in your arms again, do you go lift 200 lbs? No, that would probably kill you or at least hurt you very badly. You start small and work up to 200 lbs. Maybe you start with 20 lbs or maybe even 10 lbs. It is the same with creativity. Do not jump in and start knitting a sweater if you don't know how to knit and haven't been creative in a long time. Let's build up your confidence so you don't set yourself up for failure. Baby steps.
Over the next month I am going to bring you a series of posts that talk all about some of these activities that will help you flex your creative muscle. Fun activities that I suggest you try for a week at least. Longer if you love it. Before committing to a life of creating more and consuming less I want you to not only be brave in your creativity but just absolutely love it. I would love to have you along for this journey.