My focus for One Little Word this month is supposed to be “creating meaning.” I’m not sure I even know what that means, let alone how to do it.
On the back of my card I designed earlier in the year, I wrote down a few questions: What is meaningful creation? How can you create more meaning in your life? In your work? What does it mean to create meaning?
I don’t know the answers. Except I think that every creation is meaningful, and the way to create more meaning is just to create more.
What I’ve mostly been thinking about this month is why I do what I do, how I came to choose craft writing of all the paths that have been presented to me through the years.
To a certain extent it chose me, of course. I wrote about all sorts of things, for anyone who would pay me, for a few years. Then I found About and really wanted to work there, so I applied for any topics that came up that I thought I could write about (I actually applied for journalism first, which I still think would be a lot of fun, though I’ve been out of the business too long). And I was accepted as the Guide to Knitting.
Since then I wanted to write more about other crafts, too, so I pushed this blog in that direction. I also started working on another knitting blog, and I’ve written two knitting books. I’d love to do some more general crafting/creativity for women books in the future.
A Creative Legacy
But I didn’t entirely just fall into it. Craft is important to me. There are crafters and makers all over my family, and I grew up making all sorts of things, from baby blankets to jam, dresses to jewelry. I know the joy of creating something from scratch, or following a pattern or making something from a kit. No matter which path you take, you bring your own creativity into it.
Craft is powerful.
Creativity is magic.
I’ve long thought that creativity is really the thing that makes us human, and it turns out I’m not the only one who thinks so. I’ve been reading Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine: How Creativity Works, and he notes scientists don’t see an evolution of where human creativity came from:
the human imagination has no clear precursors. There is no ingenuity module that got enlarged in the human cortex, or even a proto-creative impulse evident in other primates. Monkeys don’t paint; chimps don’t write poems; and it’s the rare animal (like the New Caledonian crow) that exhibits rudimentary signs of problem solving. The birth of creativity, in other words, arrived like any insight: out of nowhere.
Creativity, to me, makes us who we are. To deny that or resist it or say “I’m not really that creative” is to deny who you are as a human. And I think that’s a tragedy. And it’s what I want to help people with.
You don’t have to be artistic or poetic, throw pottery or paint a masterpiece to be creative. Creativity can be shown in the way you organize your kids’ art supplies or the meals you make your family. You can write a creative post on Facebook or share a beautiful photo on Instagram.
Take a walk and gather leaves or rocks. That’s creative. Rearrange the stuff on your bedside table. Make up a story to tell your kids at bedtime. Get a toddler ready for school (as one who does it I can tell you that definitely requires creativity!).
Do something different. Try something new. Shake things up. Be creative.
Just thinking about and doing these things may just shift your mindset a little bit about what it means to be creative. You’ll probably find yourself wanting to sneak more little moments into your day.
Creativity isn’t about making stuff. It’s about the way you see the world and the way you interact with the world. It’s a big part of what makes you who you are.
So that’s why I write about craft. I’m sure there are other things that are more important, but to me, it’s vital.
If you blog, why do you write about what you write about? I’d love it if you’d share!