One’s creative outlet will stem from one’s talents and interests.
For the longest time my creative outlet was writing, then I got a job in journalism. Suddenly, the creative writing part of my brain seemed to shrink as the fact-writing part surged.
While many of the stories I have written have involved creativity, many have not. Finance committee meetings do not lend themselves to flowery words.
The thought of “writing for fun” no longer seemed appealing. It’s a feeling familiar to some college students who say they no longer enjoy reading “for fun” because they read so much for their classes. (During the two years I was an English major, I rarely picked up a book that was not assigned reading.)
As my writing skills changed tracks, another opportunity for creativity presented itself in the form of performance ministry as part of the drama team at my church.
Our weekly practices have become my outlet where I try to let my creativity soar.
A highlight of my experience thus far has been creating sheep costumes for last year’s Christmas play.
I pulled apart cotton balls and glued them to white T-shirts. Then we made paper headbands with pink ears. Aside from picking up cotton balls as the sheep shed after the practice and rehearsal, it was a success.
A creative outlet does not always need to create something to be shared. If writing or painting relieves stress, the creative outlet has served a purpose. The main purpose of a creative outlet is to serve as a break from the routine and work of daily life.
Even with my involvement with the drama team, “writing for fun” has not totally left me. I have found there are some thoughts that can only be fully processed when I write them down. Every now and then I grab a pen and notebook, and unjumble all the thoughts that have been begging to come out.
Every so often I will be inspired to start a story of total fiction or draft a skit for my church’s drama team.
The unjumbled thoughts will remain, as they should, largely unshared, yet the creative writing developed with the thought of being performed may one day be shared.
I have found that creativity knows many limits. Time, space and resources all cap what can be created.
For me, the way things have been done in groups that I’ve been a part of in the past has limited how daring I am in working in a new direction.
The greatest limiter to creativity is often what we think we can accomplish. Questioning whether something will work out will often keep a person from trying.
For me, creativity is more difficult to share than simply repeating facts. Facts stand on their own — they require only prepared and carefully arranged structure to catch interest.
Art is different.
Creativity requires a piece of its creator; thus, sharing a creative piece requires opening the door for someone else to see another part of me.
How will they respond?
Contemplation of this question can be a dark cloud casting shadows over sunny skies and colorful flowers of inspiration.
I remember when a friend of mine was trying to teach me the art of painting. I spent a good five minutes being nervous before I decided what I wanted to do with my artwork. Before I started, I made sure to request he not consider the time and materials a waste if it didn’t look like anything in the end. The painting, now finished, is full of color, yet lacking definition.
While some stories are best left unshared, others need to be told. I have enjoyed the times when I have shared them.
Confidence is fuel for creativity. Confidence in one’s knowledge of a technique or craft and its ability to elicit approval from one’s audience can fuel creativity. Confidence in the idea that no matter what pessimists of the world may say, the project is one that needs to be shared can fuel creativity.
While sharing creativity for fear of how it may be received has been a real consideration for me at times, art is not the artist.
Someone can criticize a project without criticizing the person. Judgments on creativity are largely subjective. A true artist, whether with camera, brush or pen, will learn whose opinion to listen to in order to better their craft, and who to ignore.