This is something that took me many years to learn. When I was younger I’d go through creative phases, It almost felt like I was out of control. I remember getting really into Plaster of Paris one year; before I knew it I had twenty different silicone moulds I’d made and an array of sculptures in my home and garden. Once, when I was inebriated I ripped all the wallpaper off one of the walls in my home and painted a giant mural of an elephant. My partner at the time told me I was crazy. But the truth is I only get like that when I ignore my creativity. If I bottle it up, It’s like creativity grabs me and I don’t know how to stay in control. I think it stems from a childhood where I was taught that creativity was a bad thing. Artists were time wasters, poets were rich people (men) who didn’t want to get jobs and musicians were promiscuous.
In fact I can remember a holiday in Ibiza when I was young, there was an abstract art gallery up a flight of stairs. We walked past a sign for it. I asked my parents to let me go in. My mother and step father stood and mocked every single piece of art. They asked things like, well what is it? Who would pay money for that? It was at that point that I realised Art was a passion I’d enjoy in solitude. It was only as an adult I found people that loved art. It was very difficult being creative and coming from a family of academics, (on my mothers side) university lecturers, librarians, all multilingual. I took after my father. I was my fathers daughter after all. I was nothing like my mother. I was the high school drop out, the rebel, the person with no drive or ambition. My cousins all got a Masters degree at least, in fact I’m the only person in my family without a degree. The truth was I was very ambitious, I just knew that going to University to study Art was not an option. So I did something different. I broke my families tradition and perfect record; I began to express my creativity and eventually put my mind to being an entrepreneur.
So these are somethings I learnt along the way about my creativity, and how to manage it;
Do not hide your creativity
Creativity is a gift. No matter what background you come from or what people opinions are around you, embrace who you are.
Do not block out your creativity
It will find a way to emerge. If you try to ignore it, It will find a way to flourish. For me everything I have put my mind to has ended up being creative somehow, whether I wanted it to or not. When I block out my creativity it tends to suddenly disrupt my life and destroy everything I’ve been working towards. Creativity should enhance your life. You need to learn to work with it.
Have breaks even if you don’t feel like it
Don’t get manic. I wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep. I’d just keep going until I was exhausted and then have a huge crash afterwards. I’d wake up and look round my house thinking what have I done? What is this? Why have I made this? I’d often end up ruining things I’d made because I hadn’t taken a break. You should leave this time to reflect on what you’re doing and the purpose of it. Creativity takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Don’t overthink. This can block creativity.
Overthinking has the opposite effect on creativity. Often overthinking hinders creativity instead of enhancing it, it creates mental blocks. If you are feeling this way at the moment I have written a blog post on Blue Sky Thinking; an exercise you can do with your mind to help start to create again. https://startingtoday.blog/2020/10/14/blue-sky-thinking-how-to-keep-creating-when-you-cant-find-inspiration/
Never loose the imagination you had as a child
I hate when you hear people saying creativity is childish. It’s not, its just that when you’re child your imagination is free of limitations and the stress of adult life. So tap into that mindset.
Find inspiration in everything
When your creative inspiration comes from everywhere, embrace it. If you’re the type of person that loves to look at little details and everywhere you go you seem to be in awe, the chances are you’re creative. Use that gift to create and inspire others.
Be prepared for a creative crash
When I worked at the art gallery it was an amazing network of people for me. It was the first time I got to work with like minded people and understand I wasn’t alone. Artists find it quite common to experience a crash of emotions after you make something. All the excitement and adrenaline has gone. Have a plan in place to deal with an oncoming crash.
Spend time with like minded people
Find some people out there that have similar hobbies. For me blogging has been an amazing chance to connect with creative people.
Creativity comes from your sensitivity
Your sensitivity is a strength not a weakness. Your purpose is to create, this is difficult, so if things go wrong or don’t turn out the way you expected them to, don’t beat yourself up about it.