Thursday, April 14, 2011

10 Minutes a Day

To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.

~George Kneller

10 minutes isn't a lot of time. Everyone can find an extra 10 minutes in their day. Right? Okay; maybe not every day, but most days. Would you consider doing something creative for 10 minutes a waste of your time? Writing, doodling, sewing, crafting, painting, singing, the list goes on and on for creative activities that you can do for 10 minutes. It's good for your brain, or so researchers say. Granted, I didn't read all of the wikipedia article about creativity--there was a lot of information there. In the world we live in, thinking outside of the box is becoming more important. I think we should all take 10 minutes a day to do something creative.

Oh, you're not creative? Hunh. Good thing I have confidence that creativity can be fostered in even the oldest of old dogs. You don't need to buy yourself a pack of colored pencils and a sketch pad. The first step in getting those creative juices flowing is to take 10 minutes to just sit and observe. Use all of your senses to absorb what is around you. Smell the smells, see the sights, hear the sounds, feel your surroundings, taste the table. No, scratch that last one. See if you notice three things that you've never noticed before. See if you can see something new in a place that is familiar. Observe without passing judgement. (Extremely difficult if you're observing a huge pile of clutter that may or may not be of your own making.) If you can do this every day for a week, what will you find yourself observing that you had never taken the time to notice before? If you train yourself to find the new in the old, what would you observe in new situations that you maybe wouldn't have before? The possibilities are endless.

I brought up the 10 minutes of creative time because last week I was at Spotlight On Books: A Conference for Adults Focused on Youth Literature; where I got to hear a few different authors speak of their writings, and an illustrator about his artwork. I enjoyed hearing about how they work. Author Alison McGhee remarked that she takes 10 minutes every morning to just write. Write whatever comes to mind. Once the 10 minutes are over, she puts it away. It's an exercise in creativity. I thought about that. Ten minutes isn't very long. It's do-able. The Sunday edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune had an article about author/illustrator Nancy Carlson and how she started a blog of doodles. Another exercise in creativity. Her doodles are just 10 minutes (or so) of time; and they may feature some of the characters from her books drawn in different ways. Ten minutes to draw whatever comes out of your pen. Fascinating. Two people in two days doing the 10 minute thing. Definitely do-able. Granted, we're a few days past last Sunday when I figured it was do-able and I haven't done anything. On Tuesday I did sit in the sun and observed things. I wasn't terribly non-judgemental though. I think I only lasted a couple minutes before heading off in search of the rake.

I hope I can remember to take 10 minutes a day. Ten minutes to quietly observe, ten minutes to draw, ten minutes to write (haha, this post makes up for a couple weeks worth of 10 minutes). Now is the perfect time of year to get in the habit of observing. Watch as little by little the leaves start popping out on the trees, listen to the frogs croaking, smell the pollen, feel the sneeze building up inside of you. Now is the time of year that the world outside changes on an almost daily basis.

If you need more inspiration on building up your creativity, I found an interesting article on the Scientific American website. 7 Ways To Cultivate Your Creativity. Go ahead, click on the link. Go ahead, sit quietly and soak in the things around you. Go ahead, allow yourself the freedom to think outside of your usual box.

I promise, it's fun!

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