design matters | tips for creativity, part 2

Last week, I shared the first part of this post (HERE, in case you missed it!). I'm elaborating on the tips for creativity I shared on Caylee's blog a few weeks ago. I call these "tips" but really they're more like my mantras for creativity - and really life in general. 

| 4 | Learn something new

I had this listed third on my original list, but I really wanted to write about embracing imperfection last week, so here we are - learn something new at number four on my "revised" list. I love this one because it appeals to both my strengths and weaknesses. I've always enjoyed learning, studying, school, etc. But I'm actually a lot less enthusiastic about actually trying new things. I think this gets back to the perfectionism thing.

Trying new things inevitably involves failure. I'm definitely not great at every new thing I attempt. But when it comes to getting creative, I believe that learning something new and actually attempting to do it can be really satisfying. When I learn something new, I'm forced to stretch my creative muscles. This year, I've been learning to shoot manual with my DSLR (you can read about it  here). I took an online course, and I've forced myself to keep my camera in the manual setting. Ugh. It's really, really hard. I'm clunky and slow behind the camera and I never used to feel that way. It's kind of a bummer.

But it's also paying off in ways I didn't expect. I'm spending so much less time editing pictures in Photoshop because I'm learning how to take photos I love from the get-go. I've also realized how much I appreciate great photography. Learning this new skill is giving me a greater understanding of my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to taking photos. Rather than just doing what I've always done, I'm working to improve a skill that's important for my work and my life. And while the process is a little painful, I can already tell it's great for my creativity.

The greatest lesson I've learned from all this is to not be afraid to fail. It just doesn't matter! Better to attempt to learn something you've always wanted to try than to never make the attempt at all. You'll never know your strengths and weaknesses without being willing to engage in some level of experimentation. Creativity is actionable - it's more than just day-dreaming. Well, one of the ways I make sure I'm taking action is by learning new things. Besides, it can also just be really fun (like this!).

| 5 | Don't use anyone else's creative work as your yardstick

Comparison kills creativity. Period. A sure-fire way to make sure you won't follow-through on a project is to compare your work to someone else's. Creativity by its nature is unique to the individual or group of individuals who work on a project. My project life albums will look very different from yours, even if we use the same core kit.

One thing I love about creative projects is that they're generally multi-faceted. Project life (and memory-keeping in general) involves photo selection and editing (or not), color choices, paper options, handwriting, journaling and more. Hello! That's a lot of stuff! What that means to me is that my work will not look like anyone else's. I think we can probably agree that that's a great thing. Okay, so why do I spend any time at all thinking my "stuff" isn't good enough? Because in gathering inspiration through blogs and Pinterest, I often find myself comparing my work, my photos, my skills to people who may have more time and more experience in any given area.

I really do believe that comparison can end creative endeavors. It can stop creative projects dead in their tracks or it can prevent them from ever getting off the ground. At the end of the day, who cares if my stuff isn't as amazing as someone else's? For one thing, I can't compare my beginning to someone else's middle (thanks, Andrea, for the reminder!).

Additionally, I'm the only one who has to live with my creative choices. As with most things in life, they're a work-in-progress, changing as I become more skilled and as my interests shift. My early project life spreads are soooo different from what I do now! Some of those layouts make me cringe a little, but in a good way. I can see how far I've come and they always look like me, not like someone else's pages.

For further inspiration on these tips... 

- Check out Nicole's Classes to learn something new

- Watch this video on comparison if you want a little encouragement

- Read the first part of this post

Is there anything you'd add to the list? Any advice for those of us who get stuck? I'd love to hear your comments!