Growing up is hard, really hard. Especially if you have 5 sisters to point out how different you are (no worries, they’re still my best friends!), and understandably so. I was not your typical child. I was more known to build tall, sprawling, and strangely balanced Lego towers, than to hug—anyone. I cracked my first joke at the age of 10-my family was so shocked they wrote it on the calendar. Sarcasm was completely lost on me, until the age of 14. My father passing avocado off as a head ache cure to me is a family legend. Legend. My world was black and white-in constant need of perfecting.
And yet somehow this 2-dimensional mind of mine woke up and I started to become creative…
Creativity is for the non-artistic
If the last few years of my life have taught me anything it’s that anyone can be creative. It’s a learnable skill, just like anything else. Just because you don’t draw, sew, play, sing, or dance doesn’t mean you aren’t creative. Some of the most creative people I know are amazing listeners, nurturers, mathematicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
The Creative process
We’re all wired to be creative. It’s a natural occurrence, at least once in a while. Not knowing how it works makes it feel magical, mystical and untouchable. While wondrous feelings they’re hardly helpful when trying to implement creativity regularly.
While I named this blog after the creative feeling of making something out of nothing, that isn’t how it works. A better descriptor would be to organize. You take existing things, thoughts, molecules, etc. and organize them into something new. The fun part is that our brain can use any knowledge it receives as part of a creative solution—it just needs some focus.
Most of the creative process is done in our subconscious. But the first step, realizing something needs fixing, is a conscious thought. Normally it’s framed like, ‘It sure would be nice if…’, or ‘what am I trying to create?’ or ‘what is the real problem?’
Once you have a focus, the process typically hands off to your subconscious. There your brain will draw on any previous knowledge it has, to come up with a solution. This can take a long time, or never result in a helpful answer. This is why creativity can feel so elusive.
Our brains are continually gathering input like: what color nail polish does the receptionist use, or aftershave that guy on the bus wears. If we see, hear, touch, smell, or taste it, our brain will wade through it and decide to keep or forget the info. Our solutions are dependent on gaining the right anecdotal information.
This is where knowing the creative process really helps. If we take ownership of the creative process, it naturally leads to research. Google is such an amazing tool when it comes to this. We can feed our brain much more potent and relevant information in solving the problem.
*No products, brands, or search engines mentioned in this post are sponsored–just in case that gives you warm fuzzies.
Incubation, experimentation, action
Many times this step overlaps with research. We’ll brainstorm and list all the ideas we have and that can lead to more research. All the while our brains will be working on this problem while we’re sleeping-yes your sleeping brain is solving problems! How cool is that!? It takes information you have stored away in your brain and is constantly working on what is relevant and fits together to help your situation.
Ever wake up in the middle of the night and finally get the answer to something that’s been bugging you? That’s why; your brain was working on it in your sleep and finally figured it out. It needs its little Tada moment.
So ways to incubate the information: brainstorm; list every solution you can-without criticism. Mull over the information. Evaluate the ideas and eliminate distracting ones. Try your ideas out, pare down the failures and add new ideas as they come. Most importantly, get plenty of sleep. Be patient with yourself and trust that being proactive will eventually bring you the answer you’re looking for.
This is where you put the solution into concrete form. Where the Ah ha moment comes. There is no controlling it; your subconscious will let you know when it has the answer. Just work on the research and incubation and this will eventually come.
After the magical ah ha moment it’s time to polish. Many times this will bring another ah ha moment. You might also ask those you trust to chip in their advice/opinion to help refine it. Check for errors and usefulness and keep polishing until you’re happy with the result.
Creativity is a way of life.
While I share many frugal tips because of our grad school days, my passion is for creativity. I can give all the frugal tips in the world but until you become proactive–searching for answers to your unique problem, I’m really not that helpful. I try my best, but no one knows your situation like you do. Creativity is the key to freedom.
My goal is to help as many people as I can to be creative. No matter what you’re interested in there is always a way to be creative and proactive in it—and thus make it better. There are so many voices out there saying life is too hard and you can’t go after your passion.
I say you can. Whatever you’re passionate about is of upmost importance. You are the only you in the entire universe and no one else sees the world the way you do. No one else knows what you are capable of-including yourself. We need you to stand up and share what you’ve got. No matter how silly, serious, scary, or artsy--your passion is worth chasing. Just know you have a cheerleading section over here and I’m betting on you.
What dream are you chasing today?