This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.
Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one's self and influence the lives of those around us - our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.
Whether you consider yourself a “creative” person or not, chances are you exercise some kind of creativity every day. It is a misconception to think that you have to paint, draw or get crafty on a regular basis to be able to call yourself creative. Acts of inspiration and inventiveness come into play when you’re gardening, cooking, decorating, mothering, managing a household, problem solving, blogging (the list goes on and on). Broadening the creative categories a bit will help you recognize and acknowledge your own ingenuity.
Activist, artist, teacher Mary Lou Cook explained creativity as “inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun”. Beyond that I can tell you from personal experience that creativity begets beauty, shifts your perspective, and lifts your spirits. So, why not infuse your life with more of it?
Consider some of these simple yet transformative ways to ignite the creative fire within you:
Cultivate Gratitude: Writing in a gratitude journal each day will work wonders for raising your appreciation level. The writing part is creative therapy, while the theme is uplifting and life-altering. No matter how bad it seems, focusing on what you are grateful for can bring just the shift in perspective you need to make it better.
Capture the Everyday: Although many people only take out the camera for special occasions, capturing everyday moments can make even the most mundane things feel momentous. Photography is an easy and accessible tool that can be used anytime to help you celebrate your life and nurture your creative spirit.
Color Your World: Everyone has certain colors that make them happy. Consider bringing more of those colors into your life. From clothing, shoes, or accessories to a bouquet of flowers, your coffee mug or the color of your bedroom wall, mindfully select colors that feel good to you.
Get Your Hands Dirty: Whether it’s digging in your garden or kneading dough, working with your hands is not only very creative, it’s therapeutic. Getting your hand dirty (and allowing yourself to enjoy it) engages not only your physical body but your soul.
Let Yourself Regress: Think about what you kinds of arts and crafts you loved to do when you were a young. Color in a coloring book? Use your watercolor set? Make collages from magazine pages? Doodle on your Pee Chie folder? Whatever it was, let yourself do it again. The end result is not the point. The process is! There is nothing better than revisiting the creative joys of our youth.
Walk the Aisles: Visit a local arts and crafts store or even a home goods/cooking store and just browse. Pick up items that spark your interest. Explore. Investigate. Muse. Anything that sparks your creativity or gets you giddy is worth noticing. If you are inspired, then go ahead and purchase something for yourself. Consider it an investment in your creative process, whatever it may be. You deserve it.
Make Little Things Matter: Taking a few extra seconds to complete even a simple chore with a little more finesse can make a difference in how we feel about the task at hand. Wrapping a holiday gift? Do it with extra TLC. Addressing a letter? Use your best handwriting and dot your “I” with a heart if you’re so inclined. It certainly can’t hurt to take extra pride in the details.
Share Your Creative Talents: Whether you love taking pictures or baking, your creations are worthy of sharing! You can hand make a photo greeting card or wrap up a few extra cookies as a surprise gift for a friend. Sharing is caring -- it’s true -- and when it’s something made with love, it’s that much sweeter to give and also to receive.
Go on a Field Trip: There is no greater inspiration than nature. Find a local arboretum or nature center to visit. Or even a local flower or garden shop! Anywhere to find a variety of flowers and plants and other natural elements to awaken your senses. Take note of what specifically inspires you.
Hone Your Vision: Challenge yourself to see the world around you through new eyes. Really notice the nuances of what you’re looking at whether it’s around the house or out and about. Notice the light, the color, the texture and appreciate all the beauty around you. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at seeing your world in a more creative light.
Tap into Your Resources: There are a million ways to glean creative ideas from inspirational resources. Take a ceramics class through the parks and rec or sign up for an online class. Classes and creative communities can be highly motivating, encouraging and a lot of fun.
Gather a Sisterhood: Finding like-minded, like-hearted women is a must! In real life or online, the women we surround ourselves with make all the difference and being creative with a collective energy behind you is like magic. Make it happen!
Photographer, author, and mom Tracey Clark is the founder of Shutter Sisters, the collaborative photo blog for women who love taking pictures. Beyond her work at Shutter Sisters, and her online e-courses, she writes for a variety of publications and websites and shares her passion, know-how and photo-philosophies at conferences and events nationwide.
Her most recent creative endeavor is co-writing the new Shutter Sisters book Expressive Photography: A Shutter Sisters Guide to Shooting from the Heart, published by Focal Press, Oct 2010 and available now.
You can find out more about Tracey on her personal blog.