Sunday, September 26, 2010


A friend of mine made a statement on her blog that got me thinking. She said there is very little room for practicality in a creative person’s life. Now there’s not a lot that Jenn and I disagree on, oh a few things here and there that make each of us roll our eyes and shake our heads at the other, but this one stood out for me today in a big way.

I just finished my first “paper” for the class I’m taking to get my master’s degree. It has been a struggle this week to find the time to do homework and work and family and me. I’m not sure I managed all of it with any kind of finesse, but it all has gotten done…almost, we won’t look at the big pile of laundry or the stack of tests I still need to grade.

So did I do anything creative? Yes. I planned out the performance tasks and lesson sequences for the next section my students will be working on. I squeezed in some reading for leisure around the edges. My mind has been making changes to a manuscript I have in the works, nothing written, but it’s in my head. I took my son to a football game that required a car ride of 45 minutes.

What? These don’t seem creative to you? They are, I assure you. Let’s start with the first. I had to develop and outline the real-life task my students will perform to show that they understand and can utilize the information in the upcoming expository and persuasive units of study. Go on, try it. What is the goal, the role the student will fill, the audience, the real life situation the student will be experiencing and what is the actual performance task outline? Got one for understanding expository texts? Okay, now do it again for persuasive texts. Now figure out how to maintain the attention of 150 7th and 8th graders while you present the information. See what I mean yet?

No? Try the next one. Reading for leisure. This is an easy one, right? The story fills your head and you transport yourself into the situation and you live, breath and move with the characters in the story. You feel as they feel, you experience what they experience…no? Then you don’t really know how to read.

But let’s try again. Come up with a way to entertain a 21 month old in the backseat of a car while you drive in the front seat of a car for 45 minutes…each way. No, videos aren’t an option. Getting it yet?

It is my belief that we need to learn to see our creativity differently. I know this isn’t the point that Jenn was making, but it got me thinking. Instead of bemoaning the unfinished painting, manuscript, sculpture, composition, etc. that you have, begin celebrating and recognizing all the ways you do exercise your creativity on a daily basis. By doing that, and adding a bit of creative time management, you just may find yourself motivated to finish that project that has you feeling like a creative failure.