Connecting with Your Creativity

October 18th, 2009

butterfly tree

This week's chapter of The Joy Diet, which I'm reading with Jamie Ridler's book group, was about creativity. Creativity! Yes, you think I'd be all over this like fudge on a sundae, right? Well, yes, I do love me some creativity talk, but his was a fairly quiet week for me.

It's interesting, but a lot of people reading the book are having strong reactions to it. While this has not been my favorite Martha Beck book, I'm still getting things out of it. I think for a lot of people, the book is going too fast, there's too much information, it's asking too much. And I do hear that. It is a lot to process and a lot to consider doing each and every day. I think part of the reason, I'm not having an adverse reaction to the book is because I'm holding it very lightly.

Perhaps I'll get less out of the process by doing this, but I've got a lot going on at the moment, and the only way I can do this book right now is to take on what's helpful and leave the rest. I play with the suggestions, incorporating them into my days as I see fit. If I don't do it perfectly, I'm not going to worry about it. Stress-free-book-clubbing.

There are books I've read where I've done every exercise and followed along with nearly every suggestion, as I've done in past readings of The Artist's Way, for example. And there are others that I've read without doing any of the exercises. This book is somewhere in the middle for me. I'm doing some exercises, leaving others behind without a second thought. It feels just right for me right now.

This week I've used the creativity prompts in small and subtle ways. Whenever I'd remember, I'd check in with myself about what I was desiring in that moment and then I'd think up a few creative ways to move in the direction of what I wanted. What I liked about doing this, was that it helped me to get playful with how I can get what I want and it helped me move from desire into action.

Ok, this is a super small example, but small is good too. I checked in with myself at one point this week about what I was desiring in that moment. What instantly came to mind was that I was super cold and I really wanted to be warmer. The funny thing is, that if I hadn't checked in, I might not have done much about the fact that I was cold. I might have just blown it off and kept going. Just checking in was a good thing for me. So then I thought, "Ok, I want to be warm. What are some creative ways I could get warm?" And I started to list off ideas in my head: I could put on fuzzy socks, I could put on an extra layer, I could do jumping jacks, I could drink hot chocolate, I could do some work around the house to get myself moving and feel warmer, I could take a hot shower, I could make soup or tea or hot cider, I could cuddle up with kitties under the blankets, I could turn up the heat, I could fly back to Florida, I could put on leg warmers and dance to 80's music, etc...

Beyond the fact that making this list was kinda fun and a bit silly at times, it did get me to to come up with some solid ideas to get warm and I acted on a few and felt much better. Was this desire a deep one? No. But it was great practice and I used the process later in the week to figure out how to take action on a deeper desire to work on a writing project that I was procrastinating on. By coming up with creative ways to get started, I found a fun way to get moving on it again.

How do you connect with your creativity? What creative ways can you move towards your desires, both small and large?

17 Responses

I think your attitude about the book and what you get out of it is the same for me. No need to get crazy dramatic, just do what works for you! Thanks for posting!

Nicely said Leah. I did have a strong reaction to the chapter, actually to the entire book. In part it is Martha’s writing style, and in part I’m not all that crazy about many of her suggestions. I have however, made it my own. I’ve found the golden nuggets and I’m having fun working with them. Checking-in is a great step, one that I picked up on from reading Jennifer Louden’s books. I’m impressed that you did all of the exercises in the Artist’s Way. Every chapter in that book is jammed packed with activities. Have a great week taking risks.

This is a lovely tree and somewhat serendipitous for me. I was teaching a friend some of the basics of Photoshop the other day and had her draw the outline of a tree so I could show her how to use a custom brush, When I showed her how to pick a tree and was looking for a leaf brush, I mistakenly chose a butterfly brush.


Once again, Leah, you nailed it! I appreciate your willingness to take it lightly… Each person’s journey is unique and all we can do is move forward with intention…

I love your list by the way… :)

Leah, I’ve heard about The Joy Diet, but haven’t read it. I love reading, but fiction only, perhaps I should check out some of these books you are mentioning here. Because I am struggling with my creativity. I’m learning mixed-media technics, and I can follow directions until I reach the results that I’m satisfied with. However, I feel that I’m more able to appreciate art and follow a style, than making my own. I wish to be able to be to create a picture by having a basic idea and add to it instinctively. If this makes any sense to anyone, is there a book that you recommend?

“techniques”, sorry about that.

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I became completely derailed reading Martha’s book. I just couldn’t seem to get past the first chapter. I have been sad about not getting into it and actually thought I was the only one. Good to hear others are struggling with it as well.

Great examples of creativity on your daily life! :)

It’s funny — I’m drawn to books with lots of exercises, but then I’m quickly overwhelmed by them. So I love the way you’re just choosing the prompts that speak to you and playfully coming up with creative small actions. I’m guessing you’ll get *more* out of the book by holding it lightly. Reminding myself to hold things lightly too…

it ebbs and flows just like life itself~ I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the book~

Thanks for the thoughtful post. You are approaching it the way you need to.

Hi Leah ~ I would like to be added to the Create Art Everyday Month , looking forward to a new challenge.

~ Autumn Blessings ~

Leah you said so well what I have been thinking of the book and the way I have been approaching it. Thanks for that.
There are bits and pieces that I have used and others that I just leave. For me, it is more the community of the book club that is enriching me!

Hi Leah,
I really like your butterfly tree.I like the black and white with the color.The Joy Diet sounds interesting also,I’ll have to check that one out.I am reading the book called Art and Fear for a class I’m taking.I feel like I’m taking bits and pieces out of this also because(to me)it has alot of depth to it.I like your ideas how to get warm if your cold.

Hi Leah! Good for you checking in with yourself and taking what resonates with you and leaving the rest. I like the idea of taking it lightly. I think that’s what I’m doing, too. Loved your fun brainstorm for staying warm!

First up, I love your tree Leah! I admire that you have the wisdom to flow with what works for you and what suits you. You must be wise beyond your years.

I made a special connection with myself today. I took a moment and wrote down my immediate goals and the direction I want to go. I felt as though I needed a path to follow in the coming months. When I was finished, I felt more connected than ever. Now I see that this is very similar to you creating your mental list.

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