I often hear people say, "I'm just not creative." That's sad because life requires creativity--not just in design or art, but in everyday activities. I think that everyone is creative--even if they failed art class or can't master Photoshop. (I always tell Nate that I want to be a really creative mom. I don't want to always rely on timeouts or counting to three. There have to be more creative ways to discipline children.)
Creativity can be learned just like any other skill. The problem is that it's a little more ambiguous or abstract than playing the guitar or cooking. It's difficult to instruct someone how to be creative. And if you become too focused on creativity for creativity's sake, you might be completely unsuccessful in your objective.
I'm sure none of you have spent hours on Pinterest getting all kinds of great ideas only to never actually do any of them. Ya, me neither.
I'm convinced that you could type in "cute bowling bag ideas" and get thousands of results for tutorials on how to make cute bowling bags. It's amazing the quantity of inspiration that can be found on that site. It's also completely overwhelming and can become discouraging instead of inspiring.
It may seem a little counter intuitive, but I find that the best way to increase my creativity is to give myself limits. Sometimes life gives you natural limits, but other times you have to impose them on yourself.
So how do I limit myself to increase creativity? Just pick some aspect and limit it: time, money, space, tools, etc. Like I said, often life provides natural limits.
When I threw the shower last week, I limited myself by only doing flowers and candles. I could have made a million decorations and the guests would have been overwhelmed (and I would have been too). Instead, I was able to focus and achieve my original vision (even when I was momentarily derailed by daisies).
When I threw the Halloween party last October, I gave myself $15 and headed to the dollar store. (That's 15 things! I was able to get napkins and spider rings and table cloths. Oh, and food was not included in that budget.) I could've spent a ton of money or time. Instead, I found a photo of a creepy path in a magazine and used that as my inspiration for the party.
The experience that has probably taught me this lesson the best is redoing our house. It's easy to design and decorate a dream home in your mind. But things get a little more hairy when you are limited by square footage and plumbing and, most importantly, money. We've come up with a lot of really great solutions and ideas that I don't think we ever would have considered had we built our own house with a huge budget or bought a turnkey property.
The funny thing about limits is that they almost always produce a better end result. They allow us to focus and do one thing really well.
Sometimes I look at my limitations as restrictions. Instead, I need to remember that they give me focus in a world where I am constantly overwhelmed by options. I need to start viewing my limits as advantages--they force me to change my perspective and think beyond the norm. All of the sudden my excuses for putting off my great ideas become the very motivation I need.
So browse Pinterest and blogs and get inspired. Then use what you have (including your limited time, limited money, and unlimited creativity) to create something.
Of course then you can feel totally awesome about posting it to Pinterest for others to