We had our book club today to start our discussion of the book Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh. We are just starting with the first 3 chapters this month and then will continue on with 3 chapters next month and then the final 4 chapters the month after that. This way we can work through the book and do the exercises and spend some time on the creativity aspect of the book, instead of just reading it. :)
It was an interesting discussion today as there were several teachers here and we spent a considerable amount of time discussing the education system and how it has changed over the years. One of the issues seems to be a lack of art and creativity in the schools, which we are all opposed to. As creative people, we would like to see more encouragement of creativity across all subjects. But we also want to see more art classes and music classes and dance classes! Studies show that the arts help with learning other subjects, as well as making us more well-rounded people! Plus people are just happier when they have some creative outlet in their lives.
Patti Digh starts out the book by stating “if you are alive, you are creative”. We tend to dismiss our own creative adventures, or pretend that we aren’t good enough, or that what we are doing isn’t ‘real’ art. Blah blah blah! We are all creative. We are all artistic. We are all inspiring to others. Every one of us has a story. Every one of us has a passion. Every one of us has a creative urge.
This book is about recognizing how creative we are and fully embracing that idea. At whatever level we are and at whatever creative endeavor we might pursue.
Don’t apologize for who you are or the art you create. ~ CJ Rider
Chapter 1 talks about who the book is for. She lists these 3 categories:
- I don’t have a creative bone in my body.
- I’m just a dabbler.
- I’m an artist.
I think that covers just about everybody! So go get your copy of the book and read along with us!
Chapter 2 talks about using the book. There is no right way to read it. Skim it. Skip around. Read the last chapter first. Write in the margins. Take notes. Keep a journal. Whatever works for you – do it!!!!!! She suggest using index cards (cheap and small) and black pens in different sizes, some scissors and glue stick and magazines to cut up, and maybe a couple of crayons to do the exercises. Her intention is to keep it simple and basic so it is easy to do, easy to carry with you, and easy to complete. However, there are no rules – so go all crazy with markers and glitter and paint and whatever else makes you happy to use. If you are not happy with what you are using, you probably won’t do much of it – and this book is all about actually doing something creative.
Chapter 3 talks about embracing the creativity killers. There are 6 of them. How many of these ‘excuses’ have you used as to why you aren’t being creative or doing more of what you love?
- I work full time.
- I don’t have a good space in which to work.
- I don’t have the right materials.
- I have no ideas.
- I don’t have any skill.
- They won’t like it.
These are just stories we tell ourselves. The world is full of creative and artistic people who live with each of these excuses and still manage to embrace their creativity. If you look at your life as being an either/or proposition (I can be a good mother or I can be a painter), you will constantly be placing your creative life on hold. Patti says you can choose both/and instead. I like that!
Stop making excuses and start flinging words on a page or paint on a canvas. Don’t separate “real” life from “creative” life. Pay attention to your excuses. You are always in choice.
The book is full of stories that she then uses as inspiration. You are encouraged to do the same. Use your index cards for the 10-minutes prompts after each story. It’s just a short exercise in reflection and observation and creativity. Surely you can find 10 minutes to spare! Then there is also a longer 37-day commitment to more fully explore the lessons from the story. This is a chance for you to connect on a deeper and more permanent level with what has inspired you from the stories, and make it part of your every day life.
I encourage you to join the discussion and to follow along with the exercises over the next couple of months. I know it will change your perception of your own creative self. And have fun with it!!!! Having fun is an important component of being creative, and sometimes we forget that it is OK to enjoy ourselves.
Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will be able to treat life as art. ~ Maya Angelou
Our next book club meeting is May 22nd. See you then!
Let Your Inner Artist out to Play
Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, CO 80918