Creativity can happen spontaneously (like weeds in an abandoned plot of land) or it can be curated (like an English garden). I think both types of creativity should be encouraged. Sometimes unexpected ideas can grow into something amazing, other times they need to be rooted out to make room for the more disciplined tasks that are known to grow into something productive and beautiful.
Creativity takes time. Reading "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron was a life-changer for me. She encourages artists to leave room in their schedule for events that replenish creative energy such as watching a film, visiting a museum, or hearing the symphony. Lately we have been taking long bike rides, which I think might accomplish a similar effect.
She also suggests taking a week long break from listening to outside influences. Imagine a week without reading the paper, browsing the Internet, or turning on the TV or radio. This allows your own inner voice of creativity begin to whisper ideas to your conscious mind. At that point, it's up to you to write those ideas down or get out your sketchbook and start drawing outlines.
As a blogger, I don't write every day. I do think that regular writing eases my mind and removes self-doubt so that when I do need ideas to flow from my brain to my fingertips to a manuscript on a computer screen, that process is not hindered by a lack of practice. I've implemented some fun activities in my classroom lately that worked well and I feel my confidence growing in that arena.
Sometimes you have to try ideas that will fail several times before you get something working. The fear of failure can prevent implementation, but the joy of success can only be reached if one has the courage to understand that many ideas are good and can only grow if they are allowed to be tested and optimized.
For example, this week we did candy chromatography in honor of National Chemistry Week. I had an idea that it would be pretty and we had to try a couple iterations of how to achieve separation of the food dyes, but in the end it was a learning experience for the students who attended our first Chem Club meeting of the year. Now we can use this activity as a hands-on demonstration for schoolchildren at some of our outreach events this year.
In closing, I will say HAPPY NATIONAL CHEMISTRY WEEK! I'm off to a study jam and afterwards I will drop by the chem club rock candy making event. I hope you find yourself free to be creative, even if it is making a crazy Halloween costume or testing a new recipe for dinner tonight.