When my clients tell me they’re not creative, they’re usually talking about their homes. But the larger truth is they often feel they’re not creative in any capacity. Part of my job is to prove them wrong!
The thing is, we see or hear or read something — a work of art, a beautifully put-together home, a story, a piece of music, whatever — and it’s the end result of someone else’s efforts. It’s a finished product and for the life of us, we can’t imagine creating something like that. From zero to that is mysterious and, we assume, probably complicated, and surely not something we could ever do.
But what if you could?
What if you just decided you were going to become creative in your own magical, authentic way?
What if you were willing to simply start, wherever you are, to take some steps to become that person?
Here are some ways I’ve found to nurture my creativity that may just work for you. I’ll bet most of them aren’t what you might have expected!
1. CHANGE THE CONVERSATION IN YOUR HEAD. Give the “I can’t” refrain marching orders. When it tries for a comeback, say to yourself …
I wonder what it would take…
How could I learn that?
I bet I could do it if I tried!
2. UNPLUG. From all the noise and energy disturbances — all your devices and your tendency to cave whenever someone or something else needs or wants you. When the constant chatter and false urgency is kept at bay, a golden silence creates the space your mind and soul crave. Remember what it was like to simply dream? I try for one digital-free day a week. Could you do that?
3. SEE WITH YOUR WHOLE SOUL. Whenever you catch yourself admiring something, pause to explore and savor it. What exactly is it that appeals? The color, shape, texture, scent or sound? The surprise of it? Its strength or delicacy? How does it make you feel? My photographer friend, Jeanne Schlesinger, lives and breathes “seeing with soul.” When you begin paying attention to what resonates, you’ll discover colors, textures, shapes and more you can play with in your home.
4. STOP COMPARING — yourself or your stuff or your whatever with anyone or anything else. Comparison is the thief of joy!
5. CONSIDER THE WAYS YOU ARE CREATIVE. Maybe it’s the unique seasoning you add to a recipe that everyone always asks for. Or the unusual flair you demonstrate with your wardrobe. How about your clever solution to a pesky problem at work? How you plan and plant your gardens? You’re likely far more creative than you give yourself credit for.
6. GO ON ARTS DATES. Or simply on your own. To museums, galleries, gardens, art shows, festivals, concerts, performances, house tours, etc. The arts evoke a wide range of human response. Discover what bubbles up the laughter in you, turns you off, piques your curiosity, moves your soul. Whether you’re awestruck, confounded, delighted or dismayed, you’ve encountered something completely out of your everyday life. Immersing yourself in others’ creativity can inspire your own.
7. PLAY! Get one of the now popular coloring books for adults and revive a favorite childhood activity. Run through the sprinkler. Watch the ‘rainbows” that appear in the water’s moving spray. Roll down a grassy hill. Take your camera for a spin around the block. Make your own sushi. Tickle the ivories. Try juggling. Play opens up your soul!
8. TAKE A CLASS. Either a bigger stretch for an existing skill or perhaps something radically new to you and outside your comfort zone. I recently did exactly that with a four-week workshop on creating and performing a monologue. Whenever the doldrums or doubts creep in … a class is often just the ticket.
9. KEEP AN IDEA & INSPIRATION JOURNAL. I keep one in my purse. When you get that wild and crazy idea … jot it down. When you see something — a color, a room, a gesture, anything that lights you up for whatever reason — make a note. Copy quotations that resonate. If writing it down isn’t your thing, how about snapping a pic from your smart phone? Or recording an audio note to yourself? All those ideas and images begin to form a collection, however eclectic, and are a great jumping off point for your own creativity.
10. SWITCH IT UP. Take a different route to work. Clean the house on Tuesday nights. Try using your non-dominant hand for a whole day. Eat ice cream for breakfast. I’m not kidding! Routines have a role in our lives but sometimes they become … too routine. Autopilot rarely inspires. I once had a Disney character wristwatch I absolutely loved — because it told time BACKWARDS. Whenever I glanced at its face I was reminded to think differently.
That’s really what these tactics are about — nurturing your ability to see, think and feel in new and different ways.
Try one or a bunch and see what opens up inside of you. And then — in your home — do something different, too. Rearrange a room. Paint a wall that color that keeps showing up in your image library. Start and display a collection. Buy the art that sings to you. Pick a project from your inspiration journal — and go for it.
The only thing that keeps you from being creative is not creating!
Wherever you're located, I can help you get to creative faster! Let's talk.
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Susan McConnell is a writer, mentor, and founder of Soul Style Home. She guides women in new life phases to reinvent home with "design from the inside out." Her clients say her super power is helping them see, celebrate and express who they really are. Learn more at www.soulstylehome.com.