Let me say right off the top here… you are creative. Yes you! Even if you can barely draw a stick figure (I just raised my hand on that one.)
What does it mean to be creative?
Being creative doesn’t mean you have paint like Van Gogh or write like Earnest Hemingway. And thank goodness for that right? We are each unique and can express our creativity in different ways.
So what does it mean to be creative? My ole pal Merriam Webster defines creativity as, “the ability to make new things or think of new ideas”. Nice! We can ALL do that.
At home, maybe you are an incredible baker, awesomely organized, or throw the best parties. In your business you find solutions for your clients problems in a unique way, you are handy at solving computer code problems, or you have great ideas for marketing your business that help you stand out.
With all the ways creativity can be expressed I know that everyone of us is creative. You may not see it but I bet your friends and family do. Ask them.
Take note of when people say “I never thought of that”, or “What a great idea”. These are clues to areas you are creative in. It may take you time to realize it but know that you are.
There are so many benefits of using your creativity, if I covered them all you would be here for hours. I don’t have time to write a blog post that long and I’m sure you don’t want to sit here and read one that long. The one benefit I’ve been looking at lately is…
Creativity as Stress Relief & Self-Care
I can tell when I am getting stressed out and stretched thin in my web design business. I get the urge to create, something, anything that does not involve the computer. It could be pulling out all my soap and lotion making supplies, pulling out a knitting project or a sketch pad and start doodling, grabbing my camera and heading outside, or simply taking time to journal the “old fashioned way”… with pen and paper.
Doing something creative and exercising the creative side of your brain is an outlet. In the article “Art Therapy: Relieve Stress By Being Creative” on About.com the author discusses 3 points on how creativity and art can relieve stress:
- A distraction – taking your mind off of what is going on around you
- In the flow – being fully engaged in what you are doing
- Self-care – creating balance in your life
Being fully engaged in a project or process is an amazing feeling and can leave you feeling recharged, refreshed and ready to take on something new. Using your creative side also helps to clear out the cobwebs and stimulate brain activity.
Creativity Creates More Creativity
This past weekend I participated in a craft show of sorts, unfortunately it did not go well but it brought to light a few things. The goal of being in the show was to clear out my inventory to make room for some new product ideas. Yeah, well I should have known better. It seems to always happen, I get this brilliant idea for a new product just before a show starts. So the last few nights before the show I was staying up way to late and created a BRAND NEW product. So much for clearing out old inventory, I only created more!!
Creating this new product was fun, oh so fun. I got to learn how to use a new power tool, which is always a bonus. I tried my hand at something new and created something that got rave reviews.
I realized, once again, that I need to make time in my life to be creative. It is a trait that I have said I value but do not give myself the permission or the time to go be creative on a regular basis. That has to change.
Once I started creating these new photo holders, new ideas immediately sprang to mind all sorts of different options. Once you get into creating mode, it gets easier to create even more.
When you develop a writing habit, when you engage in the process of finding your voice, you start to notice new ideas, new things to write about and new possibilities.
Developing Your Creative Side
In his awesome book “The Accidental Creative”, Todd Henry, talks about the importance of “unnecessary creating” of creating play time for yourself to explore an idea and try something new.
In Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artists Way”, she calls it the “artist date”. She recommends setting aside time each week and go do something that will stimulate your creative side.
Developing your creative side needs to be a regularly scheduled appointment on your calendar, a commitment to yourself that you need to keep. And yes… that last bit was for me! I need to do this too.
As you develop your creative side you will start to see the benefits mentioned above and I believe a whole lot more.
So what will you do this week to create a distraction, stimulate your brain, and cultivate a habit of developing your creative side?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.