One of the hardest things about being creative as an adult, I think, is just taking the time to do it. Even as someone who makes a living doing creative things, the actual acts of creativity are often pushed aside in favor of the day-to-day tasks, writing less-creative blog posts, answering e-mail, checking social media one more time.
So it’s really important to me to think about giving yourself permission to create, to try something, to be bad at it, or to be good at it, and to try again and again.
Marisa Anne Cummings started her creative journey with a weekly commitment to being more creative back when she had a nine to five job. Called Creative Thursday, that day set aside for making blossomed into a full-blown creative career that includes painting, fabric design, ceramics, notebooks, kids’ room decor and more.
A few years ago she also wrote a book called Creative Thursday: Everyday Inspiration to Grow Your Creative Practice. I don’t know why it crossed my radar, but it did, and I spent some time with it recently.
As usual I’m judging other people’s books on creativity on the one that I want to write some day, but I did enjoy this book.
It’s a quick read — 128 pages mostly filled with lots of her illustrations and projects — and it reads like a giant pep talk that aims to get you from thinking about being more creative to actually doing it.
It covers things like
- setting intentions
- moving through and accepting resistance
- finding inspiration
- setting a time limit
- redefining the role of perfection
- finding your voice
- in search of encouragement
- tracking progress
- stepping outside your comfort zone
I think for me the chapter on perfection was the most important because that is such a hard thing for me, and for creative people in general.
We so often thing the thing we made isn’t good, so that means we aren’t good.
Instead she asks people to think about “the proper perfection,” living up to a different kind of standard:
I define perfection in this context: A desire to create with excellence. That is, to me, proper perfection and not something meant to flare up self-judgment or discourage us from even trying something in the first place. I believe that a desire to create excellent work is healthy. I like to approach everything I do with excellence.
Well, that makes sense, right? The other kind of perfection is not actually possible, but trying our best and getting those things out is what’s really important, and it is a form of perfection in itself.
This is not a book full of exercises or suggestions of things to try. And a lot of it reads like it is really for painters, though of course developing a creative practice is important no matter what sort of media you are using.
The illustrations in this book are adorable, though there are times it feels like they are only there because she didn’t write enough words and they had an expectation for how long the book was going to be.
Still, it is an encouraging book that should help people who aren’t regularly creating now to see the importance of regular practice and to take steps to make that a reality in their lives. I’ve always wanted to have a “creative day” regularly built into my schedule, and this book may just have inspired me to try to make that happen next year.
Have you read any books about creativity that really inspired you? I’d love to hear about it.