I am a bit of a self-help junkie. I wanted a book on creativity to get my juices flowing. So did a search of my library and found Make it Mighty Ugly by Kim Piper Werker. Of course the title caught my eye!
The book starts with identifying our “heroes”. Or strengths. Things ranging from good with children, compassionate, good knitter, baker, multi-languages – anything you consider a strength. After that do you see any themes in your strengths? Maybe you see leadership or exploration. These are our heroes to call on when blocked creatively.
She wrote about creativity demons such as fear of failure, self-doubt and perfectionism. She is about knowing our demons and living with them. As to be realistic they are never totally going to go away. Maybe under cover for a bit, but they will always pop out when we least expect them.
When I read the demons I thought okay basically the same as every other creativity book. Just different label. The exercise that changed it for me was to make an ugly creature. To gather all my craft supplies and make it ugly. For me that involved not over thinking anything like color combinations, perfect stitches or what felt to glue on. I just grabbed a piece of fabric, cut out a shape and make a mess sewing it up. Remember it is supposed to be ugly so I can’t have lovely even stitching around it.
It was freeing. I sat at the dining room table with a mess around me and well made a mess. I ended up stuffing it with plastic as that is ugly and using the dirtiest ugliest buttons I could find. I had a ball. Seriously. I got to toss perfectionism out the window and no self-doubt that this was ugly.
I thought okay she might be onto something, It is fun to just create with no expectation or over think it. Color outside the lines. Make the sun purple. Give the person three arms. Whatever. Who cares. Enjoy NOT planning and thinking. Ugly can be beautiful. It is the journey. It is creating.
So if you feel stuck make, write, do something ugly with no expectation or end result in mind. It gets you creating and moving. A few others ideas she suggested are make a collage, photo assignment of say three pictures of something red, read a book outside your comfort zone or take a class.
She also stressed getting into a routine of creating. To make yourself and your creating a priority. Not something last on your “to do” a list. Remember creating something ugly is still creating!!
It was a fun book to read with the exercises and side stories of other creatives who took a risk. I’m just touching on a few things in the book so check it out if you feel you need that creative push.
You can always start now!