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Creativity Under Fire
Creativity Under Fire : Art on the Go

Creativity Under Fire

Art on the Go

By Molly J. Anderson-Childers

A recent letter to Creativity Portal sparked an idea for a new series. One of our readers asked if we could address an all-too-common issue for most creative folks with a day job — not having enough time. Wandering the world with the Muses, dipping into pools of bright creative juiciness all over the globe, has led me to some unexpected places. Now, there's a need for my work to come full circle, returning to the basics — making the time and energy for creativity, no matter what.

That's why I'm thrilled to announce my new series, "Creativity Under Fire." These articles will focus on staying creatively juicy, regardless of your situation or circumstance. Trapped in a dead-end job? No time to get creative? Need a fresh way to solve a problem at work or at home? Then this series is for you. I'll be giving you the low-down on my best strategies for staying creative at work, at home, and in the studio.

If your only free time happens during your commute to work or school, here are some great ways to maximize your time and get creative on the go. Love your iPod? Can't live without your Blackberry? Use your commute creatively. Plug into an inspirational podcast, or download some of your favorite music to create by. This will inspire you, and keep the creative juices flowing. You'll arrive at your final destination busting with creative juiciness.

I'm a writer — I've got it easy. My work goes where I go. I love my laptop, and I carry a little notebook everywhere with me. When I have a few free moments, I'm jotting down ideas and snippets of poems, bits of overheard dialogue, possible names for characters — anything that comes to mind. Try carrying a notebook with you and writing a poem a day during your commute. Or, see how many pages you can free-write before the ride ends, and challenge yourself to write one more tomorrow. Trust me, time will fly. You might even miss your stop and end up somewhere completely unexpected — that's happened to me more than once.

If you're a visual artist, it's a bit tougher. After all, one can't paint or throw a pot in the middle of a crowded subway car. Try bringing along a portable sketchbook. You can jot down ideas for projects, collect items to use in collages and found art, and make sketches of your fellow travelers. You'll arrive at your destination fairly bursting with juicy creative energy.

Best of all, taking your art on the road gives you the chance to connect with other creative souls. Sometimes they can be very well-hidden. Just last month, my banker confessed to me that he's written a novel, and he wants to write another one. You'd never guess it, to look at him.

Creativity is lurking everywhere, and you'll find beauty and juice where you least expect it. Don't be shy — break out your notebook and go for broke the next time you're on a boring bus ride. Odds are, someone's going to ask what you're doing.

This gives you the chance to practice saying, "I'm a writer/painter/sculptor/performance artist." This admission has a certain power all its own, like casting a spell. Say the magic words again and again, and eventually, you'll start believing them.

Picture a certain undercover novelist on his morning commute, scribbling like mad. When the woman in the next seat asks what he's doing, he says, "I'm a writer. I'm working on my second novel. I work at a bank, too, but…that's just my day job." He bends over his beloved notebook and takes up his pen again, to write. He is smiling. •

© 2010 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »