Updated: Nov 20, 2020
Creativity is important. It means we are fully human. And yet you might sometimes feel that all your resources are poured into work or your family so there is no time left. I felt like that for a long time; though I didn't have time to create art, music or needlework, I did love transforming spaces and poured a lot of creativity into my home and garden on a tight budget. I loved upcycling before it was a thing and I loved how quickly painting a wall could make a difference. I loved the change. It felt like freedom. I could change an environment and make it pleasanter, more peaceful and more 'me'. But did I really nurture projects? I dreamt them up, yes, but I wanted a rapid change. A day. A weekend. Not much longer. That's why I liked my personal style and dress sense. Dressing up for work was a creative channel for me and made me feel instantly better. Hard to think of now when all I wear is yoga pants every day.
James Clear is a master of harnessing creativity. He writes, 'The creative process is the act of making new connections between old ideas or recognising relationships between concepts. Creative thinking is not about generating something new from a blank slate, but rather about taking what is already present and combining those bits and pieces in a way that has not been done previously'. Pretty much like my wardrobe was back in the old days then? To get to thrive on the conceptual level James Clear talks about, you may need time and to start small, to clear your mind of clutter and just do something different. Anything! Take half an hour to write something down? Bake a cake? Research a small DIY project? The internet is full of them. When you make items yourself, you can choose projects that suit your tastes and it feels much more mindful.
Daring to Live Fully- 20 creative project ideas to awaken your right brain
Plato was talking about bringing up children and educating them to be good citizens. Treat your projects like children. See if you can start to nurture something which needs constant input. Gardening teaches you that. You can have a massive rush of designing, planting and excitement about it all. But gardening is not instant. Seeds and small plants need nurturing and if you forget to water the flowers for a while they'll be ok. But neglect them for too long and they've usually had it. Weeds come up and you've wasted time and money. Feed them a little every week and they flourish, sometimes coming up with unexpected combinations you might not have ever planned, inspiring you. Albert Einstein's imagination and creative thinking, coupled with many hours devoted to his thought experiments in physics, resulted in a redefinition of our understanding of the universe. That's ambitious, but did he really know he was going to do that when set out? The difference is in the nurturing.
Why not start today, especially if you feel you haven't been creative recently? Buy some bulbs, plant them this autumn, wait and see what happens. You'll need to clear a space or find a pot but it's not much effort. You could be creating beauty in your home or garden. Or you could choose to leave them in the bag to shrivel up.