I have always been happy to admit that I am a total nerd; and as a total nerd, I am not ashamed to admit that I love learning. I love taking classes and learning new skills. I get giddy just thinking about it. In college, I was always so excited at the beginning of the semester when I could go to the bookstore and pick-up all of the books I was going to need for my classes – ridiculous I know! Or when I open a notebook for the first time – total happiness. As a result of my undying love of learning, I always have a long list of creative pursuits I want work on next or classes I want to take.
For me, creativity goes hand in hand with learning. The more skills I learn or acquire, the more creative I can be (this is true for me personally, but may be different for you). At times, I have had flashes of inspiration, but did not necessarily possess the skills to execute my ideas. Therefore, by learning and then practicing new skills, my creativity has expanded. I believe creativity is a skill, and like other skills, it must be practiced in order to improve.
I have such a wide range of interests that currently it is not about mastering any or all of them. I am not trying to be the best in any field. Rather it is about increasing my knowledge and skills in my areas of interest to enhance my life in some way. Photography is the perfect example of this. Since having kids, I take a lot more photos, using both my phone and my DSLR. While the photos I take are not bad (in my eyes), there is still a lot of room for improvement. I am not planning on becoming a professional photographer, but I want to be able to take quality photographs of my children that my family will cherish for years to come.
Learning and creativity work closely together. The times when I am learning new skills or information is when I am feeling most inspired and overflowing with new ideas. As I mentioned, I am currently interested in learning the basics of a several skills, but the same is applicable to mastering one skill. For example, if I was just interested in learning to sew, I would start by learning the most basic skills, then move on to following an easy pattern. From there, I would chose a more difficult pattern that would force me to learn a new skill and eventually maybe even design my own patterns. As my skill set augments, so does my creativity because the reality of what I can create increases. By continuing to learn, I continue to challenge myself creatively.
Therefore, in order to stay inspired creatively, I try to always have a plan for what to learn next and how I am going to go about learning whatever it is that I want. As I mentioned, I have a long list of interests that I want to learn more about. Listed below are a few:
- Learning to code – html and css
- Learning to sketchnote/visual thinking
- Graphic design
- Digital photography
- Using power tools
- Watercolor painting
When I decide on something new to learn, I start by gathering resources to determine how/where I am going to learn this new skill. Obviously, the Internet is a wealth of information, but it is helpful to have a starting point. In addition to the amazing blogs and websites available to learn from, I have used the places listed below to take free/very inexpensive online classes/courses in the past: