Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Stop! Look! Listen!

an exercise using your senses in creativity

In the beginning God created. As creatures made in God’s likeness, we too are creative. Creativity is the natural order of life. That may take many shapes and forms, but for writers creativity comes in words. The words and the patterns we form is our gift back to God. Our self-expression is a love offering to Him.

In this sin-sick world creativity can be easily be stifled. How do you revive a creative energy that’s been locked up? How do you freshen or sharpen the creativity you are currently using? Books and websites and classes offer many ideas. Here are a few quick and simple ways to spark creativity.

Stop! Look! Listen! Take an hour, a morning, or an entire day and do not speak unless answering a direct question. Brooding or pouting doesn’t count. Go about your day normally, except be quiet. How does this change the dynamics of your day and relationships? What do you observe that had become routine, stale, or been previously unnoticed?

Another exercise involves the sense of smell. Take several jars or items from the kitchen cupboard and set them where you can reach them. Blindfold yourself. Grab an item, open it and gently inhale. What images, emotions, memories come to mind? Let yourself feel whatever you feel. Don’t wrestle with it. Record your thoughts. You can perform this same exercise on a walk outdoors by simply closing your eyes before you sniff.

Taste is an interesting sense related to smell. Have another person help you with this one. Blindfolded and without smelling, let different edible items be placed in your mouth. Try the exercise again, in random order, but first inhale deeply. Record what thoughts, emotions, or other observations you have.

Once when I was little, older kids on the block made up an haunted house in a basement. In one area we were lead blindfolded to a table and had to touch substances we were told were eye balls, guts, or spiders. The reality of jello, rice, threads was suspended by sensation and my imagination. Have your kids help you with this one. They'll get a hoot out of helping even if you don't celebrate Halloween or scariness.

These are simple exercises that sharpen our awareness of the world we live in, the world God created. Focusing on a single sense at a time changes our perspective and can pull us out of a mental rut worn deep by routine and duty and behaving in unimaginative ways. With senses reawakened, our creativity will stir. Now go and write and I’ll do likewise.

How did these experiments work for you? Did you have fun? What was the most unusual thing that happened during the exercise? What sense needed most wakening? I’d love to hear from you about your experience.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, Mary. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    I took a songwriting class when I lived in Nashville (the writers were Niles Borop and Dwight Liles, if any of you ever look at the credits of Christian albums). One week, Dwight had planned on doing a class titled "How to Maintain Your Creativity in an Industry that Stifles it", but he decided to replace "an industry" with "a world".

    Thanks again.