Creativity Part 3

When I was a little girl, probably around kindergarten age, I was playing with a friend. We were lying on the grass, watching the clouds and being silly like little 5-year-old girls tend to be. There were some hills in the distance, and as we had been naming clouds, I pointed at the hills and said something like, “Those look like giants lying down taking naps!” My friend jumped up and yelled, “They do not!” and suddenly they didn’t look like giants at all, they just looked like hills.

Don’t let the naysayer change your vision. If the hills look like giants to you, they are giants! Stay true to the unique idea you’ve chosen. If you have an idea and it just nags at you to create it, do it. No matter what someone else may say. Other people don’t have the privilege of peeking into your mind to see your creativity the way you do. Nobody can do your creative thing like you can.

There is no one else who can do what you do, or create what you can create. They can’t put colors together the way you do. They would never have thought to put those elements together to create one thing – but you did. People can copy you, but their creation will never be quite the same as yours.

Learn to recognize the creative, unique You. The more you do, the easier it becomes. The more you do, you build pathways in your brain that enable you to do it again and again. The more you push yourself creatively, the more brain pathways you build and the better you will become at what you do.

Creativity never stands still. It’s like water, which will stagnate and become dull and sluggish. Creativity demands to be challenged, pushing the limits, expanding the scope of your view. The more you challenge yourself, the better you will be at what you do.

(I’m using quilting for my example, but use whatever subject you like.) For example, find a quilt book in your library. Find the most challenging design in it and make the quilt. Learn how to draft and make your own Mariner’s Compass. Yes, it will be hard the first time. It may not turn out the way you envisioned it. It will probably have a severe case of volcano-itis, like most of our first MC blocks. Do a block again, and again until you feel confident.

After that, move on to another mountain. Learn how to do kaleidoscope blocks. There are no limits to what you can do with those. Make a quilt with lots of set-in seams, (just for the challenge) or lots of sharp points. It doesn’t matter what you choose, but do choose something that will challenge your abilities. For example, if you’re a beginner, don’t go straight to the Mariners Compass!

If you can comfortably make a 9-patch quilt or piece half square triangles, move on to 8-Pointed Stars. They have 8 points meeting in the center and set-in seams. Don’t worry if the first one can’t be squared! The main point is to do it: do it until you can do it well.

Don’t try all this in one day. You’ll frustrate yourself, and you most likely won’t go back to it. Do a little every day. Set a limit of 30 minutes a day. Yes, it has to be challenging, but it also has to be doable.

Enjoy your challenges, and find your personal brand of creativity.

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