Creativity and Inspiration, Part 4
: Exercising your Brain
I paint therefore I knit
I knit therefore I write
Why isn’t knitting boring? Those who do not knit think it must be. All those hours spent focusing on needles and yarn. We all know that’s not that case. That knitting is so much more. More complicated, more simple, more social and more satisfying. And while I love knitting in groups, surrounded by others that share my appreciation of the craft, I can also sit quietly for hours working on a project with little or no conversation whatsoever. Times like these let my brain unwind. Sometimes letting it wander on its own or thinking of nothing at all but sometimes specifically focused on solving a problem.
The best way to think of new knitting ideas may not involve knitting at all. Just as cross training is good for your body so it is good for your brain. I recently tackled a highly complex project, something completely new to me. I slowly became more involved and consumed by the multifaceted project, enjoying the challenge, the new area of learning and even the feeling of being slightly over my head. It was only when I tried to blog that I realized that this project was consuming every single iota of my brain capacity. I was not knitting, not reading, and not writing. I stared at the blank TypePad page and not a single thought came to me, leaving Sarah to pick up the slack for almost the entire month of July (thanks Sarah!).
So what did I do to refocus on knitting? Did I pick up my needles? Nope, I picked up a paint brush. Now that we are finally purchasing our rental house, the stark white living room was driving me nuts. So I painted, and painted and painted, letting the repetitive and mindless motion clear my brain, visualizing the finished room, reorganizing the furniture in my mind, selecting curtain colors.
Here are some ways I clear my mind of clutter: gardening, house painting, light reading, Sudoku, dog walking, photography, and cooking (OK, not for me but it’s a good one). For inspiration I look for a similar sense of style, color and balance in home design, decorating and landscaping.
My favorite comment on creativity comes from Suzanne (YarnHog) in response to Sarah's The Verb's the Thing post. She said, "I find that creativity generally seizes me and forces my hand, whether it's gardening, decorating, knitting, or writing. There's always something (often several things) trying to get out." That is exactly how I feel once I've opened my mind to the possibilities!