As part of our “Lifelong Learning” series at the library, we have been running a six-week course entitled, “Find Your Creative Self”. It rose out of the interest people have in creativity, and the lack of inspiration we sometimes feel when it comes to making things. After the flood of interest, we thought maybe you’d like to know how things are going.
Most of the course is based around the ideas from two creativity-inspiring books. The first is Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY, and the second is Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC.
Both books cover many of the same topics, from identifying the fears that hold us back, to learning to respect and love the act of creating, to championing ourselves when we don’t often feel like we can. But each book takes a different approach–one quite rigid with meaningful exercises and soul-searching, and one more inspiration-based–and we decided to combine the ideas to appeal to a variety of people.
Each week, we do a creativity activity (or a “creactivity”, as I like to call it)–anything from drawing crazy pictures based on a single shape, to making art out of string cheese. Let me tell you, this past week was one of our best activities–where we performed a rousing rendition of “Swinging on a Star” using only found instruments, such as sponges, pool noodles, safety pins and thumbtacks. Bruce Springsteen—look out!
But more importantly, the participants have really been making some progress in their creative lives. We’re discovering what’s been holding us back (lack of time!), ways in which we can open up our creative minds (try cleaning out a closet and getting rid of things you never use), and a greater sense of allowing ourselves to be creative. It’s been a struggle, and there have been some near-tears, but we’ve also done a lot of laughing and getting to know new friends and supporters.
Will everyone come out of this with a brand new hobby or career? Maybe not. But I know that most people are enjoying doing new things and trying the challenges they’re faced with each week as a means of exploring their abilities. After the end of the six weeks, we’ll do a little assessment, and see what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown, and hopefully, there will be progress made in the future as they go off and try to approach creativity in new ways. I think, if anything, we’ve all learned to be easier on ourselves. Being creative is supposed to be fun, not guilt-inducing, or self-esteem-crumbling.
Happy creating, everyone!