Since childhood, I have been a creative person.
In kindergarten nothing thrilled me like the opportunity to play with finger paints and other craft supplies and adding to our daily doodle journals, which we started every class with. The only exception to that was coming home at the end of the day and doing my homework, which consisted of writing two sentences and drawing an accompanying picture.
As I got older, I expanded my love for creativity and have attempted almost every art form I could get my hands on— writing, poetry, painting (watercolor, acrylic, and oil), drawing (graphite, charcoal, ink,), wire twisting, ceramics, acting (as well as my fair share of behind the scenes theater work), singing, a bit of dancing (hula dancing to be more specific), photography, various crafts (such as collage, beading, sewing, and finger knitting, and other childhood favorites), very minimal and terribly done web design, and others that I am failing to recall, I am sure. I still want to ( and plan to) try silk screening, glass blowing, and wood work, as well as crochet. My drive to create is a cornerstone of my personality.
It’s said that one of the most important elements to happiness is growth. We need to feel that we are growing and that our lives are changing and improving. One of my favorite things about being creative is the ability to see your growth. All skills can be improved upon with practice, and being able to visually prove to yourself that the growth is indeed happening is one of the greatest feelings. Creative endeavors also create a lot of opportunities to try new things, as there is no shortage of creative avenues to pursue.
I wanted to share three of the most important elements to living creatively, and happily:
Make Time For Creativity
This may seem rather obvious, but how much time do you make in your day-to-day life to pursue your creative endeavors? Between work, school, family time, and other obligations, it can be more difficult than it should be to find the time to commit to just creating. Everyone’s creative process looks a little different. For me, it’s quiet, preferably in a private place outdoors or in a comfy corner of the house with pillows and blankets and a hot cup of tea. The primary elements of my ideal creative time are privacy, silence, and comfort. For others it may be putting on reruns of their favorite TV show or going for a hike, but whatever gets your creativity brewing is worth taking the time for. It also helps me to create this time on a sort of schedule, if it’s once a day or a couple of times a week. Knowing when that time is coming around is helpful (to me at least) to get the creative juices flowing before I even begin the process of making my tea.
Here are a few thoughts to ponder when figuring out how to create your most fruitful creative time:
• What is your creative passion?
• What kinds of resources and/or space do you need? (This may differ between say a writer who may want a desk in a corner somewhere, and a painter, who may need a larger studio space to not feel cramped.)
• What makes you feel relaxed, inspired, and creative?
• What technical steps do I need to take to create this time and space for myself? (If you have children, maybe have someone take them to the park for a while. If you work all day, make a point of setting aside some time during your evening rituals to do something creative. Look at what is technically sitting between you and more creative time and tackle it that way.)
Ask any highly celebrated author what the key to their success is and you will hear two things— “Just write!” and “Read as much as you can!” One of the wonderful things about creativity is that it is contagious. So if you like to write, then read! If you like to paint, then visit an art gallery! If you want to act then watch plays, TV, and films! The world is so full of amazing creators in every field, you are sure to find artists and works that inspire you. There are a million ways to immerse yourself in any creative passion, including:
• Books— You can read about any subject and get ideas to inspire your own creativity
• Magazines— Subscribe to your favorite creative magazine. It gives you a reason to get excited every month, and it’s nice to have images to accompany the articles you’re reading (especially for more hands on things, like beading)
• Films/TV/Videos— Documentaries, YouTube, and even Broadway; there are so many great visual resources for learning new hands on skills or taking inspiration from other creators (like acting, sewing and glass blowing)
• Podcasts and Audiobooks— Auditory resources like these have really been becoming popular recently, I assume because it is easier to listen to something during your morning commute for example rather than always focusing on a video or a book
Surround Yourself With Creative People
There is something to be said about the people that you surround yourself with. I find it difficult being around my immediate family because none of them have any artistic or creative passion. As I spend most of my time with them, this puts a massive drain on my creativity because I have no one to bounce ideas off of or to do fun, creative projects with. This is why I am so happy to have so many creative friends. I actually cannot think of a single person that I consider a friend who is not creative in some way. I have friends who are writers, bloggers, photographers, poets, painters, ceramicists, jewelers, and many more. This is wonderful, because when I need advice or a creative boost, I have these people in my life to inspire me. A couple of ways to bring more creative people into your life are:
• Reaching out to people who inspire you— Is there a blogger that you really enjoy? Send them a message. Or is there an artist whose work changed your life? Tell them. I know that this obviously doesn’t apply to everyone (I would love to tell Sylvia Plath what her work has meant to me), but if there are people who inspire you in your day-to-day life, reach out to them.
• Take a class— I think there is no better or more obvious way to meet other people who share your passion than by taking a class. I thank the universe every day for my decision to join the English program at my university (I was eyeing up the Psychology department with interest,) because it has allowed me to form some of my strongest and most inspiring friendships.
Lately I have been spending almost every day doing something creative. Though I am in the process of trying to find a job, moving, and valuing time with my family, I always do my best to find that time to write, draw, sing, and read, just a little, each day, because I find that when I do, I am happier.
On my other blog titled “I Am The Arrow”— which details my struggle with mental illness— I discuss the connection between depression and other mental illnesses with creativity and the archetype of the tortured artist. Though I still believe in the observations that I made there, I am now able to look at the creative process in another light. Maybe much of my creativity has grown out of my sadness and adversity, but it brings me happiness every day.