So, this is a post I never thought I would write. Until the last year, I considered myself the absolute least creative person in the world. Give me numbers in excel! Give me line graphs! Give me anything that doesn't require me to be "creative." I'd love reading about other people's creative endeavors, but I'd be the last person to say I was working on something creative.
In Spring 2014 I took a creativity class for my MBA. Electives were slim pickings that semester, and I had the option of the creativity class or a class with a professor I didn't get along with. For the first time since elementary school, creativity won. And let me say, I am so happy I took that class.
I'm not going to lie, I did spend most of those 12 weeks mocking our assignments. I wasn't able to appreciate what the class did for me until later. One of our assignments was entering something into a creativity fair (basically the class showed off what they tried to do). This assignment was pass/fail; either you did it or you didn't. Some people chose to take the fail, and I almost did too. This was a classic example of my perfectionism getting in the way of just doing the damn assignment. If I couldn't submit something perfect, I didn't want to try. After a pretty heartfelt talk with Johnny, I bought some acrylic paint, canvas, and paintbrushes and just went for it. It took a few tries before I created something I felt comfortable enough calling my entry into the fair, but I had something to submit. I had actually tried. That painting is still hanging in my bedroom.
Another assignment was to submit a week's worth of morning pages. If you're unfamiliar with the concept of morning pages, you basically write down three pages worth of stream-of-consciousness thoughts every single morning, no matter how long it takes. As a preface to this, I wake up at 6am and leave for work around 7am; finding time to write a week's worth of morning pages was a pain for school. I didn't want to do it, but I made myself wake up 15 minutes earlier every morning to get it done. I hated it at the time, but I still use morning pages…on weekends. Some of my best ideas come to me before I've had my morning coffee.
The point of these two stories is to show you two different ways to find your creative streak. The first way is to keep trying new things. I don't think I held a paintbrush for a decade (or longer) before the creativity fair. Now it's something I do often, even if all I can paint are lines and blobs of color. Never be ashamed of what you create when you try something new. It's great to keep learning, and you never know when you'll find something that clicks with you.
The second way you can find your creative streak is to write it down. I like morning pages because I never really limit what I write. I'm just trying to hit my three page goal, and I'll put down anything that comes into my brain. Stretching your brain right when you wake up really does give you some good ideas. Sometimes I get grocery lists and to-do lists, but there are some good thoughts hiding in between all of those lists.
When I'm stuck in a rut, I turn to these two processes to help spark my creative streak again. What do you do to help you find your creativity? Let me know in the comments!