And Here I Thought Dish Towels Were For Drying Dishes: One Writer’s Lesson in Creativity

As an adult, how many times do we pick up an ordinary item with its everyday use and try to come up with other uses for it? Why would we, right? How often do our busy schedules allow us to be creative with the things around us and just play?

My 3 year old just walked into the kitchen and came out with a dish towel. Curious, I stopped staring at my current WIP and followed her into the play room. I stood off to the side so she wouldn’t notice me and I watched her come up with at least 50 different uses for that one little towel. It was a dress, a cape, a blanket, a towel, a tent, a shoe, and a hat to name a few. I was amazed and a little bit jealous. I use it to dry dishes, why would I need to think of another use for it?

But just think about the freedom of imagination. I can’t imagine all the places my daughter goes to while she’s safe and sound in the play room. I remember when I was younger I had such a vivid imagination and my grandmother loved watching me. “Oh, Kaye watches herself. Just give her a dish towel, some sunshine and a nice backyard and she’s good for hours.” My kid only needs the dish towel.

After I made sure she was well occupied with the towel I went back to my writing. The second I sat down at my screen I burst out laughing. What was funny was that before our little interruption I was completely stuck on a section of my work. I couldn’t figure out what to do next, how to take something that happens everyday and make it fun, different, exciting. I was more than stuck, I was desperate. Then I thought of the dish towel and my daughter and I couldn’t stop laughing. I’m a writer, aren’t I supposed to be creative?

With my writing the only thing stopping me from stepping into the world of make believe is the blank page. The possibilities are endless and are only bounded by the limits of my mind. Its freeing to sit down and write a passage of any creative nature. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of my novel, sometimes I just write what happened in the day. More often than not those mundane mumblings inspire a post or a scene for my book or maybe its just a way to exercise my brain a little.

I’ve heard adults say that they have too much on their plates, that they don’t have time to goof off. I say that that is the perfect reason to put everything aside for 30 minutes a night and just play. Health experts preach that exercising an hour or so three times a week helps keep your body in shape. What about our minds? They need to be exercised as well.

So, if you have young kids step away from the computer and step into make-believe with them. Yes, even if it the playroom looks like the Disney store drank too much pink lemonade and threw up all over your front room, still do it. Its not only good for your kids, its good for you. And if you don’t have kids, well then you get a little more wiggle room in how you stretch the limits of your mind, you lucky bastard. Sit down, write a story, paint a picture, make something, create something, take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Don’t become a dull and boring person. Creative people are intelligent, interesting, sexy. Be sexy. Take a regular dish towel, turn it into your magic carpet and go for a ride into your imagination.

What do you do to exercise your mind? Do you play word games, do writing exercises or make up stories with your kids, friends? Do you play charades? (I had to throw that in, its one of my favorite games and no one ever wants to play with me.) Would you play charades with me?

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About Karen DeLabar

A writer who divides her time between her family and her computer while sparing some time to her other loves of theatre, books and scotch.
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One Response to And Here I Thought Dish Towels Were For Drying Dishes: One Writer’s Lesson in Creativity

  1. Pingback: Another Writing Lesson From a 3 Year Old | Have Coffee… Will Write

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