Ingredients for a Creative Person

from Lucky Bug Paper Co. on Etsy

Learning how to be a creative person is a lot like learning how to make my Mother-in-Laws spaghetti sauce; you know all the ingredients but everyone’s end result is just a little different. 

I posed the question “What inspirers you to be creative?” to my friends and among the answers was Pinterest.  Now I have been in love with the idea of Pinterest since I was invited to join some time ago.   For those who may not be aware of what it is, the best way I have found to describe it is this.  If you take scrapbooking, Internet browser bookmarking and a PLE (Personal Learning Environment) and put them together you have Pinterest.  Anyway, I logged into my Pinterest account and searched for Creativity.  What I found was a treasure chest of pictures all linked to sites and blogs and all linked to creativity in some way.   So I created a #cmc11 Board and started pinning.  The board serves a couple of purposes.  The first is a convenient way to organize information I have found on the subject that also allows me to easily link back to the source material.  Second, the board serves as an inspirational place to go when I need a boost.  And third, a way to share my thoughts on the subject with people from all over the world.  This last one is interesting because things I “pin” to my board often get “repinned” but under a wide variety of board categories, this is a great example of how individuals take information and repurpose it in a way that is meaningful to them.

So in looking through my cumulative pins, I was able to pull out some common themes related to creativity and more specifically being a creative person.  So here are my Top Ten.

Creativity Ingredient List

  1. Be You.  Creativity is about uniqueness, don’t be afraid to say “This is me and I am awesome.” Believe in your ability to be creative.
  2. Have a passion in what you are doing.  If you don’t care, you won’t invest enough emotionally to create.
  3. Embrace “newness”.  New places, new perspectives, new people, new music, new experiences…you get the point.
  4. Share in Caring, ok a little cliché, but one of the common themes in being creative is to share with others.  The way you draw inspiration for other sources, you need to contribute to the creative cycle for others to do the same.  I like to say STIC it…Share, Teach, Inspire, and Collaborate.
  5.  Practice…I know you’re having a flashback to third grade violin lessons (sorry maybe that’s just me). But it is important. Just like exercise eventually leads to having more energy, being creative leads to more creativity.  Kind of like that body in motion thing.  Create something new every day, even if it is as simple as a new witty voice mail message or facebook status or a taking leftovers from the fridge and pretending you’re on Chopped.
  6. Failure Is An Option…and that is OK.  The thing is this business of creativity doesn’t come with an owner’s manual.  You are free-styling and mistakes and failure are an important part of the process.  Don’t be afraid to fail, think of it as exploring your options.
  7. Tune Out to Tune In.  Take breaks, disconnect from this reality and skip through another one.  Daydream.  Let your mind wander about unencumbered with limitations.  You might be surprised and what you find.
  8. Choose the company you keep wisely.  Just like Mom said.  Surround yourself with creative people.  If your work environment lacks options, join a group and make new friends. This is tied to #4.
  9. Simplicity.  Too often the creative process leads to so many options it is easy to make things complicated.  Simplifying is often the hardest and the most creative part of the process.  Your end result will be better for the effort.
  10. BREAK THE RULES!  Remember #1 on this list, be yourself?  If some or all of these aren’t helping you to be a more creative person, than find something that will.  In the quest to be unique, sometimes you have to take an unchartered route.  Happy exploring!

So there you have it, my ingredient list for tapping into the creative you.  Don’t worry if yours turns out a little different, that is what makes it uniquely yours.

Visit my board at http://pinterest.com/imness/cmc11/ to see the pins that inspired my list.

Picture from Secret Message in a Box by LuckyBugPaperCo. on Etsy.

The Importance of Hobbies to Creativity

When I think about my own creative roots I seem to be brought back to hobbies I have done throughout my life.  As a small child I loved to draw like most kids a little older and I was enthralled by Lego® blocks.  I worked alongside my Dad building all sorts of things and did crafts and ceramics with my Mom.  I have at times tried quilting, sewing, and painting.  My husband says I’m a genius when it comes to jury-rigging, given a few minutes to find some common household items and I can fix an amazing amount of stuff.  I got the tinker gene from both of my depression era parents.

It seems I have always had a desire to create.  In fact it was through the materials I created for organizations like PTA and Girl Scouts that I was offered a job to create educational materials for teachers and schools.   So I started wondering are hobbies the gateway to creativity.  A 2008 journal article in Psychology Today believes it is.   Right behind finding time for imaginary play comes find a hobby (Root-Berstein).  Hobbies let us indulge in what psychologists refer to as the “little-c”.  The “little-c” creativity is present in all of us, it is what helps us to think of solutions to problems and deal with change.  Through the working at a hobby, a person is practicing being creative.  A hobby allows the hobbiest to face problems, find unique solutions and stretch the limits of their imagination beyond what exists.  Whether it is putting together patterns to form a quilt or working out a complicated pattern to build a playhouse, working at a hobby forces your mind to reach beyond what it already knows.   Hobbies also let us tap into our passions an important piece of creativity.  Hobbies can also lead to some practical outcomes.

Take for example the small business Ramshackle Wonders. This business, found on ETSY, was born from the creative collaboration of friends with a common interest Medieval and Renaissance inspired items and a desire to craft their own.   These individuals, each with a passion for a different medium, began creating items mostly for themselves and friends.  Through their sharing and encouragement from those around them, they formed Ramshackle Wonders. The endeavor allows them to further share their creative vision and even make a little money to continue the creative cycle.   They ask for and take suggestions and ideas for new items as well as custom work.   A great example of working the creative process and I think it is wondrous indeed.

So the question is, do only creative people seek out hobbies or can seeking out a hobby inspire anyone to be creative?