“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
– Scott Adams
I have never lacked creativity, in fact growing up my imaginary friends were the only ones I had. I tend to be a dreamer, and following the rules isn’t something I do very well. My preferred games were games of imagination and required other children to think along the same lines as I did. And that didn’t happen all too often until much later in life when D&D became popular and I met other creative people who also believed in fairies and magic.
Unsupervised, creativity can inspire greatness or trouble. Thankfully, trouble can usually be countered by even more resourceful responses. But too much creativity can also be a burden when you become over-committed and overloaded with projects. My thoughts sometimes become scattered and then require a great deal of effort to become more organized.
How many times have you heard your name being called along with the lines “Oh she’s so creative and crafty, she’d love to ….” And suddenly you are put on the spot to come up with the best excuse to get out of teaching a herd of 4 year-olds how to decoupage. Sometimes you have the answer and sometimes you just stand there with your mouth open as you realize are now enlisted in mandatory volunteering just because you wanted to show off how cool your latest project turned out.
Being creative is a way of thinking and how you see the world. It often comes easily for me to see a problem and turn it around and around in my mind. I ask a lot of questions, trying to see the whole picture in my mind. I am a visual thinker. Most of the time I can form a picture in my head of what needs to be done for a certain project. However when working with a group on a project, I find that I tend to take a few steps back. I am more of the creative mastermind in a project and not so much the scheduler or dictator.
During the winter months, I am indoors most of the time. The lack of spatial freedom forces me to settle down in my studio and get to work. Sounds like fun? In a way it is a really good time to get down into the glitter and pull out something incredible. Creative ideas flutter into my head from every direction. However, for some like myself who have creative investments, like a blog or a book that needs to be written, it can also be overwhelming. I need to have a schedule to keep or else I find myself either losing time on a project, getting distracted by random other things and never getting started, or just plain forgetting what I wanted to do and turning on music and getting lost. ( Candy Crush is EVIL! )
So how do you cage all of these inventive moments and keep from going imaginatively insane? How do you set limits of what ventures you will and will not take?
I have found that the most powerful word ever conceived to control the flow happens to be one of the first words babies learn and use the most. NO.
At first there is some guilt when you first try out telling a friend, co-worker, or fellow congregant that you will not take on another task. You don’t want to lose friends or seem like you aren’t a part of a group. But you also have to know when you can’t over commit so that you can do a good job on the projects you want to undertake. Once you set down the guidelines for yourself about how many projects you will take on or what projects that you actually enjoy doing, you will find that people don’t mind being told that you won’t take on too many projects and you won’t be overloaded. This means you can focus on and enjoy the ones you do take on.
I find it useful to think about the year and the number of big outside projects I want to take on. Now that my children are all grown, I don’t get involved in very many school related projects but I do take on a few community projects with our synagogue. I pace those along with projects that my family is involved with. I don’t mind lending my creative thoughts to a project and coming up with ideas, but I limit the number of physical projects I will take on each month so that I am not overwhelmed. Helping out is rewarding and worth it.
Don’t forget to book in personal events that might come up. For instance, this month one of my dearest friends was due to give birth to her second child. Since I LOVE babies and being an Auntie, I wanted to make sure I was available for the baby and mother as soon as it was time. I also wanted time to make a few gifts to bring and not be on a tight schedule. So I blocked off time on my calendar as “Baby Time” both before and after the due date. Using my calendar on my computer I can easily check to see what projects I have coming up and schedule time for writing, sewing, and even lunch out with friends from my desk or my phone.
~ Dancing with Fireflies ~