My husband and I have been reading and talking about creativity a lot this year. We are both exploring our creativity, sometimes in very different ways, but sometimes in very similar ways.
We are both thinking and talking about creative ways to motivate people to change their beliefs and behaviors. I do this as a life coach; he does it as Chief Medical Officer of an organization.
He’s also exploring his creativity as an amateur nature photographer—he just returned from a trip to Costa Rica and Panama where he took some amazing pictures and experimented with different techniques.
I’ve been exploring my creativity through writing, of course. I’ve also been exploring my creativity through improvisational theater and through drawing and playing, just a little bit, with watercolors.
This morning my son and I drove to school and he started singing The 12 Days of Christmas. We figured out days 1-11, although I don’t think “11 Bagpipers Piping” is exactly right, but we couldn’t remember what day 12 was.
“Let’s just make it up,” my son said.
Since we were driving, I said, “How about 12 cars a-zooming?”
“No, that’s not right. Let’s do ’12 chocolate candies.’” (If you make chocolate sound like a 2-syllable word, it works.)
So, on the 12th day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, 12 chocolate candies. What could be better than that?
The more creative I am in my daily life, the more creativity I bring to the page.
This has not been an easy lesson for me to learn. I grew up, as many of you did, with Depression-era parents who valued hard work and getting ahead. Play was not valued once childhood was gone. I’ve worked hard all my life.
Now that I’m playing more, I’m not getting less done. I think I’m actually getting more done. I produce more, even though I spend less time “working hard,” and more time “playing hard.”
As I’ve really experienced this in my life over the past year, it’s been easier to let go of my beliefs about hard work as the only way to get ahead. I’ve also researched play, as I’ve mentioned before, which added weight to my new belief that play is the way to get things done.
So, if you are a writer (and I know you are!) think about how you used to like to play when you were a kid. Probably you liked to play with words (my siblings and I used to put on plays for each other and my parents) but there are many other ways to play, from hiking to hopscotch, from playing the violin to playing Blackjack. Pick one or two and go with it for a while, just to see what happens.
I think you’ll be surprised how much play can add to your writing life, not to mention life in general.
Let me know what happens in the comments.
Diane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, master life coach, runner, improviser, and, last but not least, a mom. Each role requires creativity–the more creativity I bring to each part of my life, the more fun I have!