We all have to start somewhere. In many ways I am a late bloomer and a bit of an oddball. Diagnosed with dyslexia early in life, the 1960s experts used physical therapy methods as a new way to treat my disorder. I was a guinea pig. The only thing I remember clearly is walking on a balance beam – there were other activities, but that was a long time ago and memory fails me. Apparently science has dismissed this type of therapy as ineffective, but I benefited greatly from it and was able to learn to read with no problem. I did, however, retain the unusual “skill” of writing backwards which served me well. A fifth grade teacher who angered me paid the strange price of having to use a mirror to read my homework. My dad thought I was brilliant, the principal not so much.
My love of reading began early and has grown through the years. Writing, however, was not a favored activity until much later. I much preferred to express my creativity in other outlets.
In time, I felt the unsettling desire to create children’s books. I expressed this to a close friend who soon discovered the Storywriter Studio and encouraged me to look into it. There I found a small group of people interested in creative writing and shortly my first project came to life. Characters, scenes and ideas sprung up like mushrooms overnight. Writing became a new passion and creative outlet.
Along the way in this brand new journey in the autumn of my life, I have discovered inspiration and encouragement in various places and activities. These are things anyone can do to stir up the imagination or creative muse for any type of artistic outlet.
- Explore local museums. Whether you are an artist, writer, teacher or just bored with the same old television shows, you can’t help but be inspired in some way by the things you see in a museum.
- Take a nature walk. Even in the city there are areas set side to invite people into a natural setting. Observe the trees and flowers. Listen to the birds. Smell the freshness. Feel the texture of different plants. Have a picnic to complete the five senses experience. If nothing else you will come away with a new perspective or clarity for a project you are stuck on.
- Visit the nearest aquarium or zoo. People and domesticated pets are not the only interesting creatures in this world. Take a long look at other animals and you may come away with a brand new idea.
- Sit for a while at the local mall and people watch. The variety and diversity of sizes, shapes, colors and styles may amaze you and spark creativity or wake the muse.
- Attend a live performance. Outdoor concerts, symphonies, theater dramas and children’s plays are a few ideas. The percussionists in an orchestra are the most fun to watch.
- Browse through a craft store. It’s amazing how many versatile crafts there are now. Ideas pop out everywhere. Let your imagination run wild even if you don’t buy anything. (Good luck with that!)
- Celebrate holidays by going to local events. Fireworks, fall festivals, corn mazes, parades, all sorts of events throughout the year can stir up creativity when you are stuck for ideas.
It’s way too easy to let the mundane things of life drain our creative energies and leave us vegging out in front of the TV (although I love to put my feet up and watch San Antonio Spurs basketball or a New Orleans Saints football game). Don’t let work, disabilities, lack of training or too little time prevent you from expressing yourself. Fan the embers of your dreams into flames and set a creative fire in your life. You’ll be glad you did – I am. I may be a late bloomer, but better late than never.
Were you a late bloomer like me? What are your favorite creative outlets? How do you stir up creativity or get unstuck on a project? What do you do to get yourself started on a new project? I look forward to hearing from you.