R. G. from Fox River Grove, Illinois asked, "What skills do I need to be creative?"

Since I grew up on a farm, I’m going to relate this to gardening. Here’s what you need for creativity.

Soil ready for planting. Before planting, soil needs to be plowed or opened up so that seeds can be planted. I relate the soil to your state of mind. Is it filled with negative thinking or so many certainties of how things are, that you are not able to accept or even entertain new thoughts or solutions? If so, remove the weeds and plow it up so that possibilities can be planted! Be Open!

Seeds. Seeds have everything it needs hidden inside to grow a new plant. Seeds represent ideas. Just as seeds from some plants drop very close to the original plant while some float a long distance before settling into the soil, ideas can come from something very close to you or from out of the blue in the middle of the night! Keep a notebook with you to jot down all ideas that pop into your head before they float away or are eaten by a passing bird! Keep Track of Ideas!

Cultivating. Many types of seeds will germinate where you’ve plowed the soil. Our job as tender of the garden is to pull out the plants that don’t fit the garden while leaving room, nutrients and water for those that do fit. In the same way, ideas may germinate but not fit the project you’re working on. Either transplant them to be used at another time or send them to the compost pile! Cut Out Non-Productive Creativity!

Fertilizer. Creativity, like gardens, needs nutrients. The nutrients of creativity are stimulating thoughts, pictures, sounds, tastes, actions, emotions and information. The more stimulation we have, the more choices we have for putting possibilities together. Something that works for the railroad may relate to your next party recipe. One never knows how ideas come together exactly! Feed Your Senses!

Water. All living organisms need moisture to survive, whether to keep hydrated or to be washed clean. Water represents the “flow” of creativity. Sometimes, we think it will NEVER rain and sometimes, we think we will be washed away by so much creativity that it all can’t be thoroughly used. The trick is to keep the flow moving in a manageable fashion. Manage the Flow!

Time. Although Jack’s beanstalk grew overnight, most gardens take days, months, and years to become the most they can be. Creativity, too, may need time for you to research, study, investigate, plan, question or sell it. Don’t despair. Sometimes, growth is so minute that we can’t see it, but it doesn’t mean it’s not growing. Give it time! Wait!

Rest. Winter is the time when fields are left fallow so that they can rest, replenish, and prepare for spring growth. Our bodies and creativity need rest as well. Make sure your mind and creativity can lay fallow for a time to prepare for the spring. Find a Way to Relax! 

Thanks for asking!  Lynnette Schuepbach

Lynnette is an author/illustrator who sees creativity in every aspect of life. To find out more about her and creativity, visit her Web site KidsDoRead.com.  Her children’s books create curiosity in children and speak to sibling rivalry and bullying.

Lynnette serves as chair of Art in the Park on the second weekend of October at the Lindendale Park in Highland. Many local artists will be exhibiting there. It’s her pleasure to be a part of this opportunity for you to experience “World Class Art in a Hometown Atmosphere.” More info at www.highlandartscouncil.org.

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