I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity recently. Thinking about it, reading about it. I think most of us either see ourselves as ‘Creative’ or not. Me, not. I wasn’t the arty kind growing up, and that’s what creative means in my head. But I’m coming to see that we are all¬†creative, in our own way. When I come up with colourway names, I’m being creative. When I put fabrics together for a quilt, that’s creative. We’re creative when we cook a meal, when we select an outfit, when we take photographs, when we decorate our homes. There’s need for creativity in virtually every aspect of our lives (apart from maybe doing our taxes!). We are all creative types – in our own unique way.

I’ve read some interesting books recently on nurturing creativity.

Mastering Creative Anxiety

This is excellent, a step by step journey through the stages of anxiety that come with creativity. Completion anxiety, that’s my biggest problem! The main message that I’m getting from this book is that everything¬†brings its own anxiety.When you want to be creative (and I strongly believe that we all have that drive, and that suppressing it is one of the reasons that many people go through life unhappy, frustrated, resentful of others), but you hold back for fear of failure (or fear of anything), that creates anxiety in you. Going ahead and being creative brings anxiety too, but at least then you have something to show for it! In principle I think this applies to life in general. Whatever we do will bring us some level of anxiety, but choosing to hold back from life to try to evade that anxiety is counter productive, since holding back and saying no to life results in it’s own special brand of anxiety and misery.

The Creative Habit

Hmm, I didn’t like this so much. Written by a ballet dancer and choreographer, it is very much about discipline. It’s a drill sergeant kind of book. Show up, don’t make excuses, get your creative work done. That might work for some people (and especially so in certain creative fields, like dancing, where you need tremendous discipline), but I found it a little grating.

Making Your Creative Dreams Real

Written by the wonderful Sark, this was much more my kind of book. A gentle, encouraging, hand holding, compassionate look at the struggles we face when trying to follow creative dreams. I especially like her suggestion to move in the right direction by practising micro movements. However nervous we feel about a project, we can make tiny little movements that bring us closer to success, even five or ten minutes spent on something will add up if done regularly. I find this approach works very well for me, a kind of edging up to the project without looking it directly in the eye. Very often you find that once you’ve done a few minutes, momentum will carry you forward to do more – and if not, at least you’ve taken one or two steps to where you want to be.

And with that, I’m off to do some sewing!!

(Look, I finally got a design wall! A little too late for this project, which would have taken quite a different direction if I could have seen it laid out as I went along, but never mind. I begin to think that quilters who say that the design wall is the next most important tool to your sewing machine are right!)

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