All your blessings,
In tiny warm wicker baskets
Around your tired feet,
Then each day,
As sun falls,
This as life,
And remember this
However creative you are, if you don’t stop every once in a while to take stock, to acknowledge how much you have in your life, and just how very creative you are, you’ll always feel very dissatisfied.
Many of us have grown up in a culture where material achievement and consumption are lauded as the only measures of status and worth, and this leaves us constantly chasing bigger, better, faster, more, never pausing to see what’s already around us.
Added to this, our expectations are sky high as we bow to the high priestess of perfectionism and offer up our humble art (with all its beautiful flaws that makes it our art) and always feel we fall short.
It doesn’t add up to a healthy or happy way to create, or indeed to live.
Let’s focus on your creativity, and how to help you realise how much more creative you are than you think.
If you wanted to grow sunflowers, would you plant a row of seeds, then sit staring at the soil for an hour or two, and then when nothing happened, dismiss the seeds as useless, or berate them for not trying hard enough, or being lazy, or uncreative?
Of course not.
If you watered the seeds though, and made sure they had plenty of sunlight, then in a week, two weeks, a month, you’d see wonderful sunflowers had grown.
Under the right conditions, and in fact needing very little, these little seeds grow up into majestic flowers.
It’s the same of course with your creative ideas and projects.
But they too need time, and the right conditions. And to not be hurried.
If you expect to write a new novel in a weekend, or paint seventeen new pictures one evening, you’ll be bitterly disappointed.
If you expect to check every hour to see how much more you’ve created – even during the times you’re at your most prolifically creative – not much will have changed in the big scheme of things.
It’s like having your hair cut then every hour looking in the mirror to see how much it has grown. The visible amount is negligible, but you know your hair is steadily growing, and if you checked in the mirror every two or three weeks, the growth would be far more obvious.
Add to this the fact that you can’t always measure creativity. Being creative is not just about the physical art you make.
There’s all the background moodling, planning, thinking, processing, plotting – letting the ideas bubble and percolate in your mind while you go about your day to day life, until you have one of those moments when it all falls into place and you can begin the physical act of bringing the idea into being.
So how can we measure our creativity often enough so that we see and acknowledge the good progress we’re making, but not so often that we’re disappointed at the apparently static state we’re in?
A simple way to do this is to have a monthly review.
What we’ve found on CCS from doing the Thirty Days Of Creating challenge, is that we create something (in fact many things) every single day, and note it down. Sometimes it seems very little, other days more, and that’s fine.
Going back over our entries at the end of the thirty days, we can see an amazing amount of creating that we would otherwise have completely overlooked and not counted or valued.
You can do this yourself in private if you’d prefer, either with a blog or online journal, or just in a notebook. Write down at the end of each day all the ways you’ve created – large, small and everything in between.
You might want to take this a little further, and have a more in depth review at the end of each month.
So you can see how you’re moving on with your most Important Work – the projects that call you loudest and burn within you most brightly.
Then you can readjust as you go, and do more or less of certain things, keeping you ever evolving into being as creative as you can be.
How are you going to start to track your progress and see how very creative YOU are?
Thanks to Susan Hosken, a founder CCS member and friend of mine who provided the idea for this post, and what has become the first line of the poem I wrote above.
“Slowly gather all your blessings” is a phrase she used while supporting a fellow artist recently, and her creativity, kindness and encouragement has been an inspiration to me for close to four years now. Thank you Susan.
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