Do the Work Wednesday #7: Tapping Into Your Creative Spirit

by Lian on April 11, 2012

I am often approached/accosted by fellow mom friends asking the same question, “Lian, how do you do it?  The writing, the podcast, the cranky e-mails to companies about their appalling customer service. You’re always busy with something creative.”

Then, these same moms follow-up with the lament, “I wish I had some creative outlet in my life.”

I’m lucky to have found a creative profession because it gives me the best excuse in the world to express myself: it’s my job. I don’t have to squeeze creativity in at the end of the day, somewhere between doing the dishes and reading the bedtime stories. (Although, in the right hands, a children’s book can be a great outlet for creativity!) I don’t work in an office all day doing something very strategic and then try to design jewelry in my spare time.  I so admire the crafters who make that happen late into the night.

My creativity punches a time clock:  I send the kids off to school, have several cups of coffee, turn on the faucet marked “inspired” and start writing. Or talking into a microphone.  Frankly, some days, the faucet is running pretty slow. But the opportunity is there to invent a new character or shape an anecdote or crack myself up with my own writing, which is really not very professional.

But I laugh anyway.

As a mother, laughing and self-expression play a huge part in allowing me to retain my self-identity. I’ve never felt lost on my role as a mom, because I’ve always had my role as a writer and a broadcaster to tap into when motherhood gets overwhelming. I can use my storyteller’s toolbox to give me perspective on whatever may be happening in my life.  Hey, what’s a parenting crisis today is a TV show idea tomorrow!

What amazes me is that these lamenting moms wishing they had a creative outlet are usually incredibly creative women.  But somehow, haven’t labeled their talents as such.  Are you one of them?  Do you entertain with panache or design your gardens with care?  Do you direct the school plays or write the volunteer organization newsletter with pizzazz?  Maybe you’ve created family scrapbooks that dazzle. Believe me, if you saw the piles of baby pictures that constitute my “family scrapbook,” you may have a better understanding of your gifts.

Maybe creativity isn’t an action, but an attitude. Approaching any almost any activity with an open mind and an inventive spirit can qualify as a creative outlet. Give it a try.

Embracing my chaos, Lian

Related Posts:

Do the Work Wednesday # 6: Marathon or Sprint

Do the  Work Wednesday #5: Nose to the Grindstone



Karen April 18, 2012 at 7:22 AM

I am one of those people who are “creative by necessity”. Okay, no “Martha S” here, I just see the need and make it happen. Proof of point, at a Girl Scout camp and our girls wanted to have our usual refrigerator cheesecake (in a box from name brand company) but I forgot the pan. Okay, no pan, use the box and some tin foil, wa-la a pan is created. Oh yea, don’t want to do dishes from the sloppy, creamy cheesecake mix – use a zip-loc bag and have the girls “squish” until mixed thoroughly. When ready just cut the tip of the bag off and pour. That’s me, can’t string beads to save my life, have to have my co-workers dress me to make sure I’m not too dowdy, but I can sure make box cheesecake in the woods! Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Laurie April 12, 2012 at 9:05 PM

I tend to work on a lot of spreadsheets. I know. Kind of dull. But there’s lots of room for creativity even in spreadsheets. Besides making them work right, I always add my own flair with subtle colors, nice spacing and to just look nice. It’s a little bit of creativity in a sea of numbers.

Kristin April 12, 2012 at 6:27 AM

The creativity I apply to life, both personal and professional, applies to me treating each kid, client with unique perspective. No two situations are alike, even if the issues brought to the table are eerily similar. I pride myself on always trying to mix things up, be innovative, and create the best intervention for all involved. Sometimes, coworkers seem to think I am a little bit nuts, but if it means I color with a 17 year old to get him to talk about his grief, then that is what I do….

The creative outlet, while mine isn’t about entertaining, scrapbooking or an artistic expression, is key to making life flow as smoothly as possible and prepare to take the “hits” without getting too overwhelmed.

Cloud Mom April 12, 2012 at 4:22 AM

You are right Lian! We often don’t realize how much creativity we use day to day. In college I didn’t see how important creativity was to being a teacher. Then a few years into teaching a colleague of mine did her masters on creativity in teaching. I was enlightened in how building creativity skills can enhance teaching. Each week as I write the dreaded lesson plans I think of new ways to help students apply learning to their life. A little positive feedback and I am off creating valuable lesson plans!

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