Among the common arsenal of excuses of many of us who would like to create more but don’t, is that we don’t have all the right materials we need.
Sometimes this is a genuine problem. If you wish to paint but don’t have a brush, then it’s going to hinder you. If you want to write a new guitar ballad, but don’t own a guitar, that could be a sticking point.
Or is it? Maybe you need a whole lot less than you need to be creative? Maybe you have too many materials already?
Here are three crucial points we usually overlook when we bemoan not having enough stuff to create with, and why fewer materials equals greater creativity:
1. We could always have more.
If you had pens in 39 different colours, would it help you draw better than if you just had one pencil? If you had 1039 pens would it make any difference? It’s likely in fact that this would have a detrimental effect, and instead of drawing, you would spend hours choosing the “perfect” shade of aquamarine or fuchsia.
We can always have more. However much we have, there is always more to be had. The trick is to be content with what you have. How can you make the most of the materials you do have if you’re constantly hankering after new ones? How can you possibly focus your creativity fully on what you’re making if you distracted by what you think is missing? Simple answer is you can’t.
2. Limits make us more creative.
There comes a tipping point where having more materials actually has an adverse impact on your creativity. If you were given a piano, locked in a room for a day and asked to write a song, most likely you’d be able to come up with something interesting. Maybe you’d come up with an album’s worth of songs. If instead you were given access to a huge state of the art studio and 17 different instruments, it’s likely the completely overwhelm would result in nothing being created at all.
When we impose a few boundaries, our creativity really gets to work. Whatever your favourite creative media, you can find ways to trim down and set limits. For example writing a story that has to be fifty words, or taking photos with an instant polaroid camera. The limitations actually inspire your creativity to get busy and conjure up ideas and art you couldn’t have done if you were swamped in too many options.
3. All you really need to be creative is between your ears.
The root of all your creativity is your creative mind. Yes that seems like stating the obvious, but sometimes we forget that all we need to create – the only materials and cutting edge technology – is our very own brain.
Stop for a second and think of a story. As a starting point, imagine there’s a elephant, a trampoline and a mouth organ. You’ll find images and possible stories forming in your mind already. You’re being creative. What materials did you use? Nothing but your own creative mind. Imagination needs no materials at all.
Saying that you can’t create because you don’t have the right materials is more often than not a convenient excuse to avoid creating altogether.
Whatever and however you create, there are simple, minimal ways you could inspire your creativity that cost next to nothing.
Whatever form it comes out in, your creativity comes from the same place. Feed it, nurture it, spoil it with simplicity.
Unburdened from all that choice and all those materials, you may well give your creativity a whole new sense of lightness and freedom.
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