Develop a Pattern for Creative Activities 

Research indicates that many creative individuals in all walks of life have found it helpful to establish a pattern, a mindset for creation. One 18th-century composer wanted rotten apples in the room when he felt the urge to compose. Most idiosyncrasies are not that extreme. Find what works for your budding creator.

A routine or pattern for most creative activity will evolve over a span of months, maybe years. Parents can observe their child's approach to projects. If you can identify his productive periods, the daily schedule should reflect a positive response to them. It is important, whenever possible, to arrange to do creative work during those hours. (Unfortunately, for some that may be impossible. I know individuals who would like to create between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. That doesn't fit into family life very well.)

A warm-up period may be helpful. Just as an athlete may do some warm-up exercises before the game, creators may develop a routine that gets the creative juices flowing more quickly. One writer spent time arranging or rearranging all of the items on his desk before he started writing.

Observe what motivates that start-up moment in your child. Your young designer may not be aware of it. Quietly and without comment, you can help create an environment that encourages him to begin.

It is critical to remember that creating is not an assembly-line process. Ideas don't engage your mind at the same pace every day. Remaining calm when the process is slow will increase productivity. Proverbial writing blocks do eventually get broken.

One gift you can give your creative child is help with organization. Because the flow of ideas is not steady, it would be wise to have an idea notebook. There are times when ideas come rapidly, without any apparent relationship. It may be difficult even to get them written down. Capture as many of them as you can. When your child has the urge to do but can't decide on what, his notebook will be a good source of ideas.

Notes about the circumstances in which an idea strikes can be helpful for recalling easily-forgotten aspects of the concept. If an idea occurs when reading, it might be helpful to mark the passage being read.

In Conclusion 

"In conclusion" are dangerous words, for there is always more to be said, more to be written. Every day is another opportunity to live, and to live is to be creative. Unfortunately, creativity does not conveniently follow the clock or the calendar. Someone suggested that writers never finish a project. They just have deadlines that require an ending.

Creativity requires introspection, self-examination, and a willingness to take risks. It is always expansive, reaching outward. Enjoy creating an environment where your children—wherever they are on the continuum of creativity—will eagerly strive to maximize their creative efforts. Our world does need some changes!  

Dr. Marvin G. Baker did pioneer research in creativity and received his EdD from Ball State University. His doctoral dissertation, Motivation for the Release of Creativity through Creative Writing, was based on 2400 writing samples of sixth grade students. 

This article was originally published in the Jan/Feb '10 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Now, get a FREE subscription to the HSE Digital Edition! Visit today to get immediate access to the latest edition!