A few days ago I got a question on Quora:
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD CREATIVE OUTLETS FOR ADULTS?
Here is my answer:
I love this question. The truth is that we remain children as long as we keep creating and playing. Another thing is that adult life brings a lot of responsibilities: work, family, money, chores and so on. And we neglect our creativity in order to catch up on all the other things we have to do. It usually doesn’t feel good. Most of us don’t feel happy and fulfilled when our creative potential is not put into a good use. Here are my 10 ideas on good creative outlets for adults. These are all simple things that can be easily included within a busy schedule.
Writing is a powerful practice. No, you don’t have to write new “War and Peace”. You can start with one sentence journal. Or a haiku poem. Or a nice letter to someone you love. You can record your thoughts, hopes and fears. You can empty your mind onto a blank page. Your thoughts are less scary on the page than in your head. Writing clears up your mind and opens space for new possibilities.
We have to cook often enough to consider cooking a chore. But it doesn’t have to be. Cooking can be fun and creative. Have you tried a new dish recently? Can you consider adding an unusual tweak to the meal you typically prepare? A new spice? Besides, everyone loves food. Share your creations with friends and family. Organize a cooking party. Bon appetit.
We are walking through the life in a rush, with To-Do list in one and pen in other hand, focused on checking the tasks off. How often do we stop and take a careful look all around? Do we notice a visual beauty around us? Photography can help us tune into a present moment and capture a beauty of NOW. When I was in Syria, the kids from the rural areas wanted us to make a photo with them and then to see it on the camera display. One girl explained me that those kids can’t believe how they can be here and inside the camera at the same time. How sweet is that?! Photography is magic. Don’t take it for granted.
In very hard moments of my life I was emotionally and spiritually bankrupted. I could only see how life sucks and how the world is unfair, bad place to be. I had no dreams. I hated my job, my body, my life. I was wasting my creative energy. When we empower ourselves to dream and desire, we start seeing possibilities. We start seeing the solutions. Dreaming doesn’t cost a dime, yet it can open your mind. It can help you feel alive. Your dreams and desires are your great creative expression. Keep on dreaming.
5. Talking crap.
Find a person (or a group) that you feel comfortable with, grab a beer (or whatever lightens you up) and talk crap for hours. Freely, spontaneously, without any filter. You will be surprised how creative and liberating crap talking process can be. You will be astonished by how much you censor yourself every day. I know, we should be kind. But we must have an outlet. I call those crap-talking events “Mad Hatters Tea Party”. Everything goes. One more thing: don’t be surprised when a few good ideas sneak through a bunch of crap.
6. Playing with kids.
Kids are little creators and we can learn ton from them. Playing with kids is a creative and energizing process. When kids don’t behave well, it usually means they are bored. They want to be animated, energized and turned on. You can help them. You can create a game for them. Or you can assist them in their own games and creations. Playing with kids is truly gratifying.
7. Doing whatever you enjoyed doing as a kid.
When I was a kid, I used to illustrate every single story or book that I read. I loved stories and I felt the need to express them in different form. Unfortunately, I never took any art lessons, except for classes required in school. But I intend to try. Maybe it’s not too late. My childhood passion is a sure sign that I find SOMETHING in art. What was your childhood passion? Try to come back to it now. There is some magic in it. Otherwise, why would it attract you so much?
8. Doing things that feel good.
Another great parameter that shows you where your ultimate creativity is contained. What’s easy, what feels good, smooth and light, that is the zone of your creative genius. I know, it might be counter-intuitive. We are more often told that we have to struggle and push. “No pain no gain.” In fact, when you do what feels good and easy, with little effort you can accomplish a lot. You can feel great and your creativity will sparkle.
By ‘teaching’ I mean all kinds of creative ways to share your knowledge. Or anything else you’re passionate about. You can help your sister organize her closet. You can teach your friends how to make bread. You can share your expertise of any kind. You can help your kids with their classes. Think of interesting and engaging ways to share what you know. Sprinkle it with some passion. Your students will be infected.
10. Coming up with 10 ideas every day.
Last but not the least, this is the creative practice that I do daily. On Quora or otherwise. If you come up with 10 ideas every day for 6 months, you will become an Idea Machine. Your brain will be quick and super-creative. The whole process is outlined in THIS awesome book. And benefits highlighted HERE. Perfect for adults of any age.
Martha Graham said that there is a unique, vital, creative energy that is being translated through you all the time. If you block it, it will be lost forever. So keep creating! The world needs your art. I hope these few ideas can help you find and express your unique creativity.