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Blooming Blog

Creativity: Getting Started

"Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity."
— Chuck Jones
Warner Brothers animator

As this week’s quote suggests, discomfort is often part of the creative process. Not only do we have to give ourselves permission to create, but we have to be ready for the uncertainty that accompanies the process. Part of being creative includes not knowing exactly what comes next.
For many in our culture, particularly as women who maintain order and structure in family schedules, this uncertainty is unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Learning how to move forward without knowing what comes next can be an important life skill as well as an important factor in allowing yourself to be creative.

Think about the last time you felt anxious, nervous, or uncomfortable…what did you do? If you are like most people, you probably tried to move away from those feelings as quickly as possible! Being able to “sit with” those feelings, however, allows you to move forward in new ways. Responding quickly to get rid of uncomfortable feelings actually limits the options available to you and reinforces old habits. Old habits often move us toward the known rather than the unknown. If you are at a point in your life when you are ready to explore new paths, thinking of these feelings as excitement about the changes may help you continue to move forward. Re-framing how you label your experiences as “good” or “bad” can give you greater potential to try new activities.

Try starting your creative process by thinking about what excites you. Make a list and figure out your best starting point. Possibilities include beginning with what requires the least amount of effort or if you thrive on challenges, try the opposite end which may include signing up for classes or working with a buddy to help you continue moving forward. Get excited and get started!
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"In every work of genius, we recognize our once rejected thoughts." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love this quote by Emerson, because it invites each of us to re-visit our creative endeavors. Not only was he a creative thinker, but I feel he has unintentionally captured the experience of us as women, who often re-visit our creative thoughts periodically throughout our lives, picking up the threads of previously rejected projects.

The reason for rejecting creative pursuits usually has to do with competing demands. As women, we often experience what psychologists call “role strain”. Even though you may not have heard of the term before, I’m certain you are familiar with the feeling. “I forgot to go to the grocery story – what can we have for dinner? I don’t have time to stop before gymnastics or the ball game or that community meeting…” I can almost feel the frantic energy that often fuels the daily lives of busy women around the world. The details may differ, but the experiences are universal. And the outcome is often the same as well – deferring our creative efforts until a later time.

But let’s back up - do you even think of yourself as creative? I know many people hold the mistaken notion that only artists, musicians, or geniuses are creative. NO! Please excuse my emphasis, but that belief is simply not true. Creativity involves daily problem-solving such as figuring your way out of the types of daily dilemmas described above just as much as it involves creating in ways that we typically associate with creativity. I like to distinguish the varying aspects of creativity as existing on a continuum from “Big C” creativity to “little c” creativity. We are all creative….just in different ways at different times.

Let me challenge you this week to begin thinking of yourself as creative – perhaps for the first time or maybe it is “again” as part of that cycle of life progressing through different phases. What’s important in the challenge is giving yourself permission to be creative and that often requires a shift in how you see yourself first…enjoy!  Read More 
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