For Christmas this year we tried to stock up on artistic toys for our little one. Now she can venture around our living room, shaking maracas, playing a drum, thumping on my djembe, banging on her new xylophone, pretending she's cooking with her pots and pans or drawing in crayon on her big easel. We want her to be able to learn how to make music, draw and cook through exploration, not us sitting her down and trying to drill her in the proper ways to do things. That can wait another ten years.
For now we give her the freedom to explore her creativity in her own ways, and to her heart's content.
Which gets me thinking: do I allow myself to explore and just be creative for creativity's sake?
Or do I get bogged down in the proper way to write a poem, the proper way to write an essay, the proper way to blog?
I think I fall more into the latter.
I have three tips that I use to make my creativity playful. These are by no means original, but it helps to be reminded (and remind myself!) of ways to be playful.
Tip #1: Stretch Yourself - you can make your creative activities playful by stretching yourself. Make creativity a game by stretching your art into a genre or sphere you have zero experience or knowledge in. I do this by drawing illustrations or illuminating some of my poetry. I have zero drawing skills, yet it helps me see the themes in my poetry that I don't see myself at first glance, and it adds a color palette that I can use in my editing that I would have never noticed without drawing.
Tip #2: Freewriting (or free-painting, or free-drama, etc.) - I tell my students to do this every semester in College Writing 1, yet I so often fail to do it myself. Just giving yourself ten minutes to do stream of consciousness art will open up new avenues of art to explore. And it's a great cure for writer's block!
Tip #3: Make Art a Game - learn how to make the tasks of creativity a game. The poets who venture into TweetSpeak's Twitter Parties for Poetry (fellow The Master's Artist writer Glynn Young is involved in this) are especially good at this. They have fun by tweeting poetry lines to each other and then editing the whole group's content into a single poem. You can replicate this type of game with painting (have four people with four canvases and each paint one quadrant then pass it along) or drama (improv!) or writing (Mad Libs!). You can always make up your own game. You're creative, remember?
Over the weekend, set aside a few moments to try some of these out. I would love to hear about your experiences with these suggestions in the comments.