My kids, and their approach to creating inspires me. I've been known to be just a bit particular when it comes to making things...and this can often paralyze me. (Am I alone here?) It appears, from watching my daughter anyway, that this trait isn't genetic. It's something I learned. Which is good news, because it means I can un-learn it, too. If I want to. Which I do. And I am. I am constantly reminding myself to let go of perfection. And you know what, I'm much happier when I follow my own advice...and approach creating like my kids do.
Kailea just digs in and creates. The other day at school they made paper monkeys. That night, she came home and grabbed a stack of construction paper, a pair of scissors, and without hesitation started cutting away. She made three monkeys in all adorning them with blankets (full sheets of construction paper) and bottles which she also made out of construction paper. She loved her new little friends. In fact, they slept at the foot of her bed for a couple of weeks, even though she hadn't carefully planned how to make them. No template. No tracing the original monkey. Just scissors and a free handed cut.
My son, isn't as much into art, but he's creative in his own way. He's a little entrepreneur, and each week comes home with a new business idea that he and his friend from school are going to start. It can be exciting...he's had a leaf raking business, a car wash, a couple of Internet stores that he's started, a paper-making business, an RC car race track, a soap-making business, and the list goes on and on. Not all of his business have gotten off the ground, but his mind is always in the creative mode. Completely unaware of any limitations.
This week, he started a new venture, called story of the week, and he's asked me to share his story here. (He's already written next weeks, too, just in case you don't want to get engrossed in a story for which you can't see the ending...kind of like what happened to me with American Idol, but that's a whole other story.) Anyway, here's the story, and the set-up, which gets back to the whole topic of creativity.
So one day this week, while the kids were at school, a turtle came by to visit. We didn't want to take him hostage (we knew the kids would want another pet...and I'm just not up for a wild turtle right now.) So we thought we'd snap a few pictures so the kids could see the turtle who came to play when they were away at school. Jay got this one of the turtle by the swing. Collin saw it and with in five minutes went inside and started writing his first story of the week.
It says "Hello. I'm turtle. Holy cow! What is this thing pawing at me?! Run for your life! Whew! I'm safe now. What is this thing above me? Oh. I see. It's a horseshoe. A horse shoe is shaped like a U. The children are gone so I want to swing on it. Does anybody have a ladder? Oh well. I guess I will move on."
He was inspired by the photos of the turtle and sat down to write a story. No worrying about getting it just so. No editing and reediting and should I tell a different story with these photos. He just sat down and wrote.
My kids are one-up on me that way. They just dive in and create. No analysis. No worrying if it will match. No worrying about typos or sentence structure or what will I do with this thing when I'm done with it.
They get inspired. Grab a handful of supplies. And create.
How about you? Do you ever get stuck creatively...trying to get it just so? Let's make a pact. This weekend...go forth and create something but remove those blocks that normally get you stuck. Do you get stuck journaling? If so, pick up a stack of pictures and write down the first thing that comes to your mind. Don't worry about writing the perfect story. Just write whatever you're inspired to write at that moment. Do you get stuck matching things perfectly (like I do?) If so, create a page (or any other project for that matter) and set a time limit for matching and selecting products. Maybe ten minutes? Just pull some things together from your stash and start creating. See what you can put together when you create like a child creates...without worry about the end result, focused solely on the fun of the creative process itself. Want to play along? If so, post a link to your project along with the creative obstacle you let go of by midnight central on Monday, May 28th. One lucky participant will win something fun...
In the meantime, let me know you're playing along by posting a comment. :)