We are all born creative beings. As children, our ability to dream, to imagine, to play, to turn Lego blocks into grand castles, pages into adventures and paper into planes, came as naturally to us as breathing. Creativity is core to our wellbeing, to living authentically, to expressing ourselves and transforming our life and the lives of others.
But for most of us ‘shoulds’ and practicalities and rules and regulations force their way in, stomping their authority over our fragile internal artist, often leaving unexplored dreams and frustrations and blocks. So, if you’ve got a little niggling urge to take beautiful photos, splurge onto a canvas, write your story, or someone else’s, pluck a monster out of your imagination, or just live and love creatively, here’s our top 10 tips to reignite your creative spark…
- The Artist’s Way – if you’re serious about unlocking your creative potential read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – and do the exercises. A 12 week course in discovering and recovering your creative self, it claims to dissolve the barriers that are preventing your creative impulses from finding expression – and it works!
- Write Morning Pages – If you don’t commit to The Artist’s Way in full, take one key tip from the book and write your morning pages. Commit to writing 3 pages a day as soon as you wake up, just your stream of consciousness, whatever comes out, no judgements, no critical thinking, just writing. It clears your head and you’ll soon find it will help you get in touch with your true self, your creativity, the divine within you.
- Surround yourself with creative people – Spend time with people that have similar interests, that are on the same page, that hold similar values – as you dive deep into conversation and soak in their knowledge you can’t help but be inspired!
- Practice Mindfulness – Pay attention. Submerge yourself in life, in the moment, in the beauty and the wonder and the weirdness of the every day. There’s a whole wide world of inspiration out there but to notice, to really notice, requires attention. On a recent trip to Berlin I was inspired by street photographer Marga who, just by watching and paying attention, wonderfully captures people’s little idiosyncrasies, the absurdly normal. She notes that “everyday life offers much more strange and funny situations than I ever could imagine.”
- Meditate – Creativity is often inspired by the external but it originates within. By consciously quieting the constant ongoing chatter of our mind, we can find our authentic and true self, and, as we learn what this is, we can start expressing it! For 10 ways on how meditation enhances creativity, click here
- Nourish yourself – we are so used to being there for everyone else, turning up at every event, putting our all into work, into our relationships, into our families and friends, that it can feel selfish and self centred to take yourself away and do some thing completely for yourself. But for artists it is essential! So take time for yourself, think of what you enjoy, cast your mind back to when you were a child and think what really made you happy and go out and do it. Refill your life with things that you love, that inspire you – watch a movie, go for a walk, play a game, live out your could dos instead of your shoulds.
- Make a start – it’s so easy to think “if only I had the time, I would…” or “I can’t believe that piece of abstract art is on display with a £5000 price tag, I could make it in my sleep”, or its painful opposite – the “I’m not good enough”. Forget the result for the moment, grab an hour and a paintbrush or a pen, or anything you have a desire to do, and just dive in – enjoy the process, screw the result and just have fun!
- Prioritise – If you’re struggling to find that hour, this video by David Allen, author of Getting Things Done may help.
- Focus on the process not the result – Researchers have found that people who engage in creative activities for the sake of the activities themselves, and not for the sake of recognition or financial reward, have a greater sense of wellbeing and find it easier to come up with original and valuable ideas.
- Be patient with yourself – If you haven’t picked up a paintbrush in years don’t expect to recreate the ceiling of the Sistine chapel on paper. Hard work and commitment is required but remember… “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts” – John Wooden
– Katina Ward