Imagination and original work are intrinsic to our humanity. I’m even going to step out on a limb and say that we must engage in some form or level of imagination and creativity or we risk shriveling up or succumbing to some sort of existential angst. Fear not! I’m not going to get all scholarly here, but I do think imagination and creativity are important to our well-being.
Creativity is as unique as you are as a person. Each of us has our own avenues for creativity. Some avenues are cultivated through training and lessons, other avenues are enjoyed informally. Some of us see ourselves are creative and have no problem letting our imaginations loose. Others of us may not see ourselves as having any creativity and struggle allowing ourselves the luxury of using our precious time in seemingly non-productive endeavors.
There’s a part of me that’s creating a great deal of the time. I tap into some form of creativity three times a week when I write this blog. I use my creativity in our tech business, Cloudtippers, writing, designing, problem-solving, marketing and every sort of odd thing needed in having a business. My husband accesses his creative side in the elegant code he creates developing websites and web apps. He’s passionate about code and can totally lose himself when he’s developing. His coding creativity may not be seen, but it’s behind-the-scenes-magic is experienced whenever someone uses the app he’s created.
Creativity is fulfilling. There’s something powerful and fulfilling seeing something you’ve created come to fruition. I imagine my parents had that sense when they finishing adding on to the house in which I grew up. My Dad drew the plans for the 1,500 square-foot addition. Then they did almost all of the construction and finishing themselves. Us three kids were conscripted into slave labor moving lumber when it was delivered, cleaning up the construction site, and every other unskilled labor requirement imaginable. At the end, they must have had an incredible sense of accomplishment completing such a grand project of scope and craftsmanship.
Not every creative project is major endeavor. Some are simpler such as arranging flowers from your yard, making a meal from the vegetables grown in your garden, setting a pretty table for yourself (I know. I used to stand at the kitchen sink and eat my oatmeal out of the pan when I lived alone!). There’s satisfaction is taking the time and using some ingenuity in the little things.
Creativity is necessary. When we embark on a creative adventure of any kind, we access a different part of our brain than what we use for more cognitive functions. Giving ourselves time to be creative actually enhances our overall ability to solve problems and perform better. It seems paradoxical, like taking time out to plan. Often people think planning is a waste of time and time taken away from something that yields more productivity. However, the opposite is true; the time used in planning more than makes up for time used in effectiveness and efficiency.
In today’s culture, we need opportunities to recharge and relax. Creative projects allow that to happen. Our on-demand culture seduces us into thinking everything is on-demand, including how we work and how we engage the people and world around us. Creative projects cause us to step back, take time, and re-connect with simpler or different tasks. We get the satisfaction of experiencing something start to finish in whatever time it takes to complete or participate. We often find ourselves immersed in what we’re doing, transported to another place. And it is good.
The picture above is my almost-finished counted cross stitch project I started 9 years ago when I was recuperating from my ankle replacement surgery! I plan to mat and frame it, and enter it in our county fair. I want a ribbon, preferably first-place (my competitive nature is very difficult to tame)!