Dixie Darr

In creativity on January 15, 2007 at 8:45 am

The Creativity Muscle

“For the longest time I didn’t realize I was creative—I just thought I was strange. Diane Ackerman

Creativity, like any other skill, needs both practice and intention to improve. If you think you are not creative, chances are, you’re right. As author Richard Bach said in his classic book, Illusions, “Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they’re yours.”

You can change things, though, by changing your thinking. The Bible tells us that we were created in God’s image, and God is, above all, a creator. So we were born to create. In fact, we do create, whether we acknowledge it or not. We have all created our lives, be they fabulous or miserable.

Nita Leland’s book, The Creative Artist, suggests several ways to increase your creativity.

Emphasize the joy of creating, rather than the achievement of results. You don’t have to be a best-selling author to enjoy writing. Every activity doesn’t have to make money to be successful. You can take pleasure in making art that nobody else will ever see.

Develop your skills. Practice and take classes. Almost communities offer short adult education classes in drawing, painting, photography, woodworking, knitting or just about anything else you might want to pursue. You can find classes in local schools, colleges and shops. You could also read a book, subscribe to a magazine, join a club, or apprentice yourself to a master.

Expand your horizons. Check out galleries, museums, and crafts fairs. Don’t limit your curiosity to the discipline you want to study. You can learn about composition from paintings and apply that knowledge to photographs. You can learn how to tell a story by watching a movie or listening to your family and friends at the dinner table. Venture outside your normal scope of interests by browsing the magazines at a newsstand.

Make creative thinking a part of your daily life. Turn off the television and stretch those creative muscles. Vary your routines. Try something new. For a whole day, say Yes to everything instead of No.

Smash creative blocks. When you run into a dead end, try looking at your dilemma from a different perspective. How would Benjamin Franklin solve your problem? How is it like an egg? Pretend that it is the best thing that could happen to you and make a list of the gifts you receive by having this problem.

Remember the well-known Abraham Maslow quotation, “When all you own is a hammer, every problem starts looking like a nail.” Make sure you have plenty of tools in your toolbox.

©2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

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