I’m convinced that Pinterest was invented to put women like me to shame. You know the kind of woman I’m talking about – just creative enough to WANT to make edible snowmen and hand painted wine glasses, but not skillful enough to pull off anything that closely resembles the original image. Crafting is one of those gifts that God sprinkled sparsely on me – filling me with desire and courage but not so much actual talent. Same thing with singing. But that’s another story.
The problem with the Pinterest approach to being creative is that it focuses on the outcome or the result, rather than the process or the journey. If you think about it, we’re all creative in our own ways. If you like to garden, cook or sew, you’re creative. Or maybe you like to journal, dance, paint or go to the theater. That’s creative. You might like making scavenger hunts or enjoying role-playing games with your children. You guessed it – you’re creative. No matter what your interests are, I am certain there is a creative woman inside you somewhere.
I learned all about the artist within myself from my friend and mentor Whitney Ferre of Creatively Fit. She taught me to resist the Pinterest Perfection and bathe myself in the beauty of the creative process. She forced me to let go of the final outcome by teaching me to paint 26 paintings on the same canvas – each one covering the previous week’s artwork. There was no time for judgment or regret or even pride. It was all about the process.
Whitney also taught me the health benefits of living a creative life – which was such a refreshing change from all the “how to be a creative writer” workshops I’d taken for years. She showed me that expressing creativity could lower my stress and make me happier, but ONLY if I allowed myself to enjoy the process and stop criticizing the outcome. In other words, to stop trying to duplicate everybody else’s creativity and start nurturing my own! Because creativity is not about imitation - it's about expression.
The folks at Pinterest probably don’t want to hear that – because there’s a lot of attempted duplication and impressive imitation going on over there. But, hey – that’s pretty much what’s happening everywhere you look, right? We’re all studying each other, trying to imitate or compete in some way. Well, we’re totally missing the point, friends! We’re overlooking the greatest opportunity to foster our own creativity. We don't need inspiration as much as we need motivation and permission to jump right in where (we feel) we don't belong.
So how do we do that when there’s no visual inspiration and no promise of a prize-winning photo to be taken of our own masterpiece? Well, I’ll say it again – I’m not a crafty woman, but here’s my secret to nurturing creativity – the kind of creativity that makes me feel relaxed and joyful, not inferior and deflated.
Do The Unexpected.
Yep. That’s it. If you want to be more creative, then do something you would not normally do.
- Learn to paint.
- Study another language.
- Audition for a one-act play.
- Plant an herb garden.
- Join the choir.
- Take a pottery class.
- Decorate a cake.
- Go on a hiking trip.
- Write a poem.
- Grab a spot on Open Mic Night at the comedy club.
Whatever. Just lower your expectations and give yourself permission to be perfectly awful! Once you’ve mastered the skill or grown tired of your creative outlet, find something else unexpected. And do it all over again. That’s all there is to it. Stop trying to duplicate everybody else’s creativity and start nurturing your own by doing something unexpected.
Got it? Great! Now go post a picture of your next disastrously creative experience on Pinterest and I promise to repin it!
My best masterpieces are the ones that have a short shelf life. The art disappears and the creativity lives on without judgment.
Theresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur—a mentor to moms who are running a business that supports their values of faith and family. As president and founder of the International Christian Mompreneur Network, she empowers entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses with wisdom and grace. Join the International Christian Mompreneur Network for free and receive the Ten Commandments of a Mompreneur toolkit!