“My day is so boring.”
“My creative juices have run dry.”
“I don’t have time to be creative.”
There are so many excuses for why we “can’t” be creative. When you work an 8-5, especially one that isn’t, by definition, creative at all, you are probably going to be tempted to use one of these excuses. You get home and feel like you barely have the energy to put together something for dinner – all you want to do is collapse on the couch and maybe veg out with a movie. How can you discover creativity in your everyday?
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For Jenn, creativity came when she stopped thinking of it as one more thing on her to-do list, and started thinking of it as something to fill in the gaps left by the rest of that list. She’s learned two proven strategies for making this happen: multitasking and working in small doses.
Say you enjoy crocheting and knitting, beading, and film-making. Looking at those three examples, you might think they don’t fall into either of those categories. Surprise! They all do.
Take crocheting and knitting: this is a super easy creative pursuit to multitask AND take in small doses. We have a friend who constantly has crocheting or knitting with her. She’s been doing this for so long that she can carry on a conversation and knit a complex pattern at the same time without looking down. Most projects are relatively portable (even if you’re working with 12 skeins of yarn at once), so you can bring them to dinner with friends or from one room in the house to another. This would be a great Everyday Creativity project!
Let’s try beading now. Anyone who’s ever made hand-crafted jewelry this way knows that it’s not the best idea to try to do something else at the same time, so multitasking doesn’t necessarily work here. Instead, carve out a safe place (your Spare Room) to put an unfinished project and you can begin to take things in small doses. You’ll get so much farther when you don’t have to spend an hour setting everything up, and then putting it away, just to get twenty minutes of work done.
“Okay,” you say, “but there’s no way I could be a filmmaker with my busy schedule! It’s just too complicated!” Well, here’s an elephant you’ll need to eat one bite at a time. Start with the screenplay. Get a fresh spiral-bound notebook and carry it with you so you can multitask while waiting at the doctor’s office or the bus stop. Do your storyboards in small doses with a stack of pages and a pencil on that card table you’re keeping in the corner for this sort of thing. Before long, you’ll be ready to get your friends together on a Saturday afternoon and shoot a couple of scenes… which you can edit while the roast is cooking on Sunday afternoon!
As you can see, even if (at first blush) the things you are interested in don’t seem like something you can do around your everyday life, just look a little deeper, and you’re sure to find some Everyday Creativity.
Everyday Creativity and Multitasking
There can be some downsides to multitasking; we’ll freely admit that. If you’re trying to find your Everyday Creativity, though, it can be a lifesaver! Certain creative pursuits, such as the knitting example above, don’t require as much concentration and focus as other tasks, such as photography. There will also be certain aspects of projects, such as cutting up spoons, which can lend themselves to multitasking.
One of Jenn’s favorite ways to creatively multitask is to listen to an audiobook or podcast while working out or making dinner. Even though it may not seem particularly creative on the surface, listening to something creative can spark your Everyday Creativity. After listening to an audiobook or podcast, you’ll often find that a new idea comes to you, whether it’s related to what you were listening to, or maybe it just got your general creative juices flowing for a completely unrelated project!
Everyday Creativity in Small Doses
Maybe your chosen creative pursuit doesn’t lend itself to multitasking. We get that! Lucas’s musical projects are decidedly non-multitasking friendly. Luckily, they are very friendly to the Small Doses approach!
If you’re in the same boat, think about how you can break down your project. Is your creative pursuit something you need to practice? Utilize short sessions like Lucas does with his music. If your project is something you can do in stages, lay those out for yourself. For example, if you’re creating a piece of jewelry, you could break that process down into planning/design, choosing and/or finding materials, and creating the project. You could even break that process down further by taking each of those sections in smaller pieces! Grab whatever 5-, 10-, 15-minute chunks (or however much time you have) and do SOMETHING to work on your project. Even if it’s just jotting down a couple of notes about the project, it’s worth it!