Days I get to be creative always rank higher in my memory than those where I was too busy, too tired, or pulled in too many directions to get much of anything done. Just too much too! But even on those days where I don’t get to engage in any High Creative pursuits (the obvious things like writing, drawing, crafting, creative moment, etc.–those I consider “high creativity” just to be able to differentiate), sometimes I forget that creativity can be found in little things, in fleeting moments of time. Even writing down an idea I’ll work more on another day or making dinner are creative actions. Hey, some days, just creating CO2 from breathing is enough if it’s all you can claim!
While I’d never go so far as to call any creativity “low” (I’d say Low Creative would be the equivalent of bump on a log-ness, or being too sick to even focus on bad television shows), I do believe in the Everyday Creativity that we sometimes take for granted when we’re being a bit self-critical. Did you put together a cute outfit or make some sort of effort with your appearance? Creativity. Did you make some substitutions in the recipe you were using for supper? Creativity. Did you scribble on a pad in a meeting or start making patterns in the margins of your notes in a meeting? Creativity. Did you play a round of Candy Crush on your phone? Yes, that counts as creativity, too, the Everyday sort.
So while recognizing and appreciating the Everyday Creative things we do is important, I think scheduling in some High Creative time each week (if not each day) can keep up soaring on a creative high versus feeling like we’re in the doghouse of our own life.
Inspired by thoughts of avian and animal friends, here are some creative prompts to get you into some High Creative time over the next couple of weeks.
Assign Yourself an Old-Fashioned Book Report
I don’t know what this has to do animals per se, though you could certainly pick a book with animals as the main character. (Goodreads has a great list over here if you feel suddenly stumped on the subject.) You can challenge yourself to read it and write up the usual grade-school summary, find a book club study guide or set of questions to get you thinking about the themes of the book, or do what I did in high school called a tracking project where you take one character or theme and follow or track them/it throughout the book and kind of figure out what all their different bits mean when put together. It’s just another way to actively read a book, but I’m all for just picking up an old favorite, too, and curling up with someone else’s world.
In fact, that’s probably why this occurred to me, now, because it’s all grey and rainy outside and I’d love nothing more than to curl up with a cup of tea and the book I downloaded on my Kindle last night and spend the evening reading.
Create a Scrapbook Page (or Mini-Album) About Your Current (or Childhood) Pet
Maybe you had a special pet that’s since passed away, maybe you have a current pet that you want to immortalize in photos or paint or paper or words. Just do something creative around that companions and think about something that makes them special to you or something that they do that always makes you laugh. It doesn’t have to be a stellar work of Art or anything, just heartfelt.
Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter
This might not sound uber-creative at first, but sometimes just getting out of our normal routine and doing something helpful can be a good spirit-lifter and I’ve found that a lifted spirit is one that is more open to ideas and new pursuits. If you would like to do something on more of a High Creative level with animal well-being in mind, how about making some blankets or toys for the animals in the shelter? Or maybe the shelter needs someone to take photos of the new arrivals so they can be put up on the website, or someone to write up creative posts for PetFinder to help get them adopted. Just ask how you can help.
Head to the nearest Park, Zoo, or Nature Preserve and Observe
Rather than go exhibit to exhibit, pick just a couple of your favorites and sit and watch a while. Make up a story about the animals or imagine what they might be saying to one another. If you don’t have any place like this around or that you can reasonably get to for whatever reason a) I’m so sorry. b) Check out any number of places that have Critter Cams and live vicariously through your computer.
Consider Your Spirit or Totem Animal
This might be a little out-there for some of you, but go with me for a minute. Lots of cultures place a high importance on the kinship of animals and people on a spiritual level. You can look at spirit or totem animals as embodiments of you or your personality or as spiritual protectors. There are lots of lists out there like this one at What’s Your Sign that seems pretty comprehensive. I’ve read before that most kids have the bear as their spirit animal as kids–the way the teddy bear becomes that common point of comfort for so many–but as we grow and our personality and lives develop new animals come in to play a part.
For the record, I identify with both monkey (of course!) and spider (surprisingly, but it also rings true), once my extended bear phase waned. But there’s still room in the menagerie as new facets are needed.