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  • nancywaldman

Being Practically Creative

I have a close friend who has compared herself unfavorably to me in terms of creativity ever since we were girls. According to her, I’m creative and she isn’t. But I never bought it. She’s a elementary school teacher and I’ve seen the way she tackles a challenging situation in her classroom. She goes at that challenge with a buoyancy, inspiration and mental ingenuity that can only be described as creative. Human beings are, by nature, creative. But there’s an odd dichotomy in evidence that people who are inclined toward the arts are labelled “creative” and those who aren’t are said—often by themselves—to be “non-creative.” This harmful labelling ignores other kinds of creativity. My friend’s is a practical kind of creativity. On the other hand, there are throngs of people who are clearly creative in the realm of the arts who have trouble getting started, staying on track, producing, finishing, keeping their confidence up. And, having been one of these people from time-to-time in my life, I can tell you that it’s not a situation that can easily be ignored. This kind of non-productive creativity is frustrating and painful. I think of it as being impractically creative. My webzine, The Practically Creative Quarter, is a zine for both ends of this continuum, as well as for those who are in the middle. Here, we explore ways in which the practical and the creative within each of us can learn to co-exist in peace and flourish in whichever direction we need to go.

If you are a compulsive type who can be creative but is overly focused on the end product, delve into our process articles and see if you can’t experience the mind-healing, freeing flow of simply being involved in a creative experience that has no intended product. If you are one of those people who starts many things but finishes nothing, take in some of our more practical tips and graphic reminders to discipline yourself to focus a little more on the outcome. If you are like my friend (used to be) but you desperately want more hands-on kinds of creativity in your life, try some of our tutorials. Being creative is about taking the steps to learn how, to allow yourself to be a beginner, and not to get discouraged if one kind of creativity doesn’t turn out to be ‘your thing.’ And everyone needs an occasional dose of inspiration, creative cross-pollination or a light-hearted reminder about not expecting perfection. Being Practically Creative isn’t about what you create. It’s about harnessing a creativity that works for you. Whether your kind of creativity needs more focus on practical discipline -or- on having a freer flow of creativity, you are capable of unifying these two aspects of yourself. The more fully we can integrate the practical and the creative parts within us, the less likely we are to be that other kind of practically (meaning: all but, nearly, almost) creative! Make peace between the practical and the creative within yourself and enjoy the experience as well as the results.

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