“I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention. Invention… arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness.”-Agatha Christie
Imagine simply relaxing… on a weekday.
A sunny spot, and an hour of your time spent with colored pencils, origami paper, or maybe a guitar.
Would you feel guilty?
Would you be concerned that you were being lazy?
Or would you reject the suggestion, saying something like, “Are you kidding? Have you seen my schedule?”
Tell me, would you like to be more creative?
Let me show you 5 ways to be more creative without all those annoying guilty feelings.
1. Decide to Welcome Your Creativity.
I always loved making art. Both my parents had amazing talent but told me not to waste my time trying to make a career of art. I spent many years doing things I didn’t enjoy in order “to pay the rent.” Years later, I realized I had made a choice based on someone else’s experience. I discovered that making art relaxes me and opens doors that bring light and joy to the ordinary things I do. I enjoy finding ways to jazz up mundane tasks, making them more fun. Creativity is a way of life, not simply an activity or a project, or even a career decision.
Choice is a powerful tool. Its magic is simple, and because we expect it to be difficult, we look right past it. What is important to you? Choose that. In some shape or form, choose that. Choosing creativity is a gift that keeps giving. Choose to write that book you’ve been putting off, make it fun, and let the journey inspire all aspects of your life.
If you’re thinking, “Oh, I’m just not creative!” Then Imagine how little children do things for the first time. They don’t seem to have any concerns about “losing face” or making a fool of themselves. Have you ever observed a small child learning to walk? They fall, they get up and then keep trying until they can run. Creativity is the same. Just start somewhere and then build consistency.
2. Notice What Calls to You.
As a young girl, I spent hours practicing my handwriting. English and art were my favorite subjects. I talked about being an artist, but secretly I also dreamed of writing one day. Unfortunately, I grew up believing that only hard work and more serious pursuits yield proper employment. Art, music and writing belonged in the pastime category, something akin to frivolous.
It took me a couple of decades to reinvent myself, choose new beliefs, and to relax enough to perceive what actually resonated with me. I mentioned to my grown daughter (an artist) that I had only recently realized I was a “creative.”
“How could you possibly have missed that?” she laughed. I had buttoned it all up neatly in my mind. I had inferred that creative meant having a job making art, writing, or playing music. The job piece is what I thought made it real, despite what my heart told me. I also believed that if you didn’t pursue it from a young age, it was too late.
Now, all these years later, here I am, finally able to enjoy the writing and the art I’ve always loved. The call persisted. It was only when I stopped trying to manage and force what I thought should happen that I could hear clearly and effortlessly.
The thing is, creativity isn’t limited to music, writing or art. It’s an energetic nuance. It is flow and balance, silence, and spontaneous joy. Creativity is a way of looking at and engaging with life. It is a co-creation, and the possibilities are endless.
Pay attention to what catches fire in your imagination. Look for the creative urges or impossible fascinations that make you smile. Have you secretly wished you knew how to do something well? What did you love as a kid? Can you think of any creative ideas or activities that inspire your imagination?
It can take a beat or two to relax into this way of thinking. Many of us have forgotten how to visualize or daydream. It may feel like an unthinkable act when everyone is so excessively busy.
Blasphemous, I know, and yes!
I am asking you to stare out the window and dream about something you would genuinely enjoy.
3. Include Perks and Encouragement.
It feels good to maintain a habit for several days in a row. Give yourself a reward. Love languages may seem out of place here, but think about it. How do you like to be supported? Kind words? Acts of service? Gifts? These are ways you can support yourself in creating the change you want.
Be kind to yourself; take small steps. Build in regular acknowledgment. Some people swear by checklists to demonstrate their progress. Maybe an accountability partner is more your style or a special activity as a treat. Acknowledge the growth of your confidence.
Try writing a sentence, give yourself some praise. If you didn’t follow through, write something like, “today I got a lot closer to [my creative pursuit].” Take two minutes to visualize yourself accomplishing it tomorrow. What time of day are you picturing? How does it feel?
4. Make Time and Build a Habit.
Start with a short amount of time, say 15 minutes, and plug it into a particular spot in your day or evening. Picture it. Your choice just needs to feel good to you. Be intentional and self-supportive. Start slow and build up.
You already know how to do this, but you may not be used to doing it with something you enjoy. Think about the habits you already have in place. Getting up at a certain time, doing the dishes after dinner, placing the cap back on the toothpaste. How do you consistently do those things? Could you use the same kind of intention for something enjoyable?
When negative emotions or unsupportive thoughts come up, acknowledge them as an old way of thinking and move on. Positive habits require practice. Sometimes it’s necessary to investigate the thought trail that leads us to the edge of a cliff instead of the beautiful lakeside.
5. Creativity is a Force Of Nature
Creativity is worthy of a closer look. It’s not frivolous, time-wasting, lazy or in any way less important than anything else.
By the time we are adults, ideas and beliefs around creativity can sometimes become tarnished. Each of us owes it to ourselves to remember how vital it is to laugh, to rest, to enjoy simple pleasures. Creativity is a life-force awaiting each of us. Without it, life becomes dry and stale. With it, we experience spontaneity, serendipity, and a wondrous array of unexpected delights.
There are life-giving properties to be gained from learning watercolor, or to sing, draw, write, learn a language or garden. But remember, quite often, we need the space to do absolutely nothing to refresh and reconnect with the creative spirit within.
Perhaps there is something transcendent inside you that a book could express. Imagine the satisfaction you would feel knowing that people were benefiting from reading the book you wrote.
Your creative interest doesn’t need to become a job or result in financial gain. It just has to be fun for you. Like a friend or beloved animal, you just feel better when you engage. So go ahead, indulge yourself, be a little lazier, a little more of a dreamer, a little more of yourself.