Some people associate creativity with art. They think if you make art, you’re creative. If you don’t, you’re not. I think that every person is creative or has creative potential. It has nothing to do with how well you draw. You can be a creative teacher, a creative doctor, a creative business owner, and in this fast-paced, fickle world, creative abilities are more crucial than ever. Creativity allows you to adapt to your environment. It allows you to create new ideas when the old ones aren’t working.
If this creative power isn’t nurtured in childhood, I believe it can result in an adult that is less flexible, less imaginative, and less able to solve problems and create their own destiny. That’s why art programs in schools are so important. As a new Montessori teacher, I’ve learned that the best way to nurture creativity is to let children color outside the lines and guide them through solving their own problems. If you always tell a child what to make and how to make it, they never enter the space that allows them to discover their own creative powers. My mother is an artist, and I’ve always been thankful that my parents gave me the chance to nurture this side of myself. Because of this ability, I’m never bored. I’m always thinking about the next thing I want to create for myself, whether it’s a small drawing I thumbtack to my cork board, a new chicken dish for dinner, a story, or a new career. Yes, I’m restless, impatient, a little lost when I’m not creating something, and make LOTS of mistakes, false starts, and unfinished projects—but I’m never bored.
Speaking of new creations, I’ve started writing a new book. Now that my novel, WHOLE STORY OF HALF A GIRL, has been copyedited (the publishing version of hair and makeup) and is getting ready to go on stage (but not until Jan 2012), I’ve had the mental space to start something I’ve been turning around in my head for a while. It’s a young girl’s diary that takes place during the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. That’s all I’m ready to share now. I’ve never written a historical piece, so it’s a new experience for me and causes the writing to go a bit slower since I have to do heavy duty research. Starting a new piece of writing is kind of like falling in love. It’s exciting and scary. I get obsessed and filled with energy. Then the glow wears off and I start to wonder if the project is what I thought it was, if I’m who I thought I was. We either get through it to a better place, or we break up. But I think we’ll make it, this book and I.
So celebrate your own creativity in whatever form it takes. Maybe it’s a flower bed, a cake, a new way to organize your papers, a painting, rearranging furniture, a secret business idea you like to think about before you fall asleep. Go for it. Create something new!