We’ve talked a lot recently about the tools and time you need to live creatively. In short, not many and not much. But there’s really one more thing you need to craft an authentic, connected and creative life.
Of course you need physical space. And while it would be lovely to have beautiful dedicated studios for creating, it simply isn’t the reality for most of you. And it isn’t the reality for us, either. (Both Andrea and I live in small two-bedroom city dwellings with our families of four.)
Truth is, making the physical space for creating is simple. You don’t need much – a corner of your dining table, a clipboard on a lap, knitting needles and yarn on the sofa. Like tools (they can be simple) and time (5-10 minutes will do), carving out the physical space is easy.
Making the mental space to create, on the other hand, can be quite difficult.
So many of us have become convinced that we aren’t creative. That, like Vashti, we can’t draw (or do anything else, for that matter). Clearing out those hang-ups, letting go of our self-doubt, releasing our fear of failure – that is what I’m talking about when I say mental space.
To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. – Joseph Chilton Pearce
Those hang-ups, those worries, they can stop you from ever starting – even if you have the tools and the time available.
So, how can you release those hang-ups and make some mental space for creating. Well, I have a few easy suggestions. (we’re all about easy)
Label yourself creative. Don’t be shy. Creativity takes so many different forms and you most certainly are creative (and so is everyone that tells you they aren’t). Creativity can be solving a math problem in a unique way. Substituting a missing ingredient in a favorite recipe. Creativity can be rearranging furniture. Or writing a sweet love letter. You are creative. Own it. You don’t have to yell it from the rooftops – yet – just owning it in your mind is enough for now.
Start a creativity journal. It’s kind of like a gratitude journal, it’s a way to force you to identify the bits of creativity in your life. And, theory is, the more you identify, the more you’ll recognize yourself as a creative being, and the more your creativity will grow. Challenge yourself to reflect back at the end of each day and make a small note, a single creative thing you did that day. Did you sing in the shower? Did you draw on the sidewalk with chalk? Did you build an awesome lego castle with your little ones? Even if your act of creativity seems so small that you feel foolish writing it down, write it down. Recognize your creativity. Embrace it.
Challenge yourself. Once you’ve acknowledged that you are, in fact, creative and you’ve made a habit of identifying the bits of creativity in your days, it’s time to push yourself to stretch and grow. What “cant’s” do you find yourself still muttering? Can’t draw? Do it anyways. Can’t paint? Pick up some watercolors. Can’t knit? Find a class and sign up. Part of being creative, being human really, is pushing and stretching and growing.
Start today. Get a tiny notebook, begin recording your creative adventures and then start having more. Share them with us here or on Facebook. And then, keep on coming back. We’ll be here, sharing more tools and projects and inspiration to make sure that you feel capable and competent crafting on your own or crafting with your little one.