How to manage my creativity, was something that took me years to learn. When I was younger, I’d go through creative “phases”, It almost felt like I was out of control, and the people around me would think I’d gone a bit mad…
I remember getting really into Plaster of Paris one year, then, before I knew it I had twenty different silicone moulds I’d made and an array of sculptures in my home and garden. There was another time 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, I told him it was abstract.
But the truth is, I would only get like that when I ignored my creativity. I used to bottle it up, and when I do that, It’s like creativity grabs me and I don’t know how to stay in control anymore.
I think it stems from my childhood, trauma and that I was brought up to believe that creativity was kind of a bad thing. Artists were time wasters and drug addicts, poets were people who didn’t want to get jobs, musicians were promiscuous, etc…
In all honesty, I get it. As a parent when your child shows creativity you think to yourself, “oh no!” My daughter expressed the other day that she wanted to be an Artist and I instinctively uttered “well that gives me plenty of time to prepare”. But then I thought to myself, why do I think that?
It’s true creatives get a lot of whack for experimenting, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t… I’ve had my hippy phase, but actually, I think deep down it’s because I know that creatives are plagued with depression.
Maybe feeling so deeply allows you to create, or passion is what drives you to see things differently. However, it’s no secret that depression is linked with creativity. Everyone I’ve met with creative talent suffers from some hindrance and if they’re lucky it’s only depression.
I realised Art was a passion I’d enjoy in solitude from a very early age and it was only as an adult that I found people that loved art. It was very difficult being creative and coming from a family of academics, (on my mother’s side) I guess I took after my father.
I was my father’s daughter after all. I was the high school dropout, the rebel, the difficult and complicated one, the black sheep of the family I guess. I was unable to commit to something for a long period of time, stubborn and would suffer from long bouts of depression, followed by bursts of uncontrollable creativity.
I’m the only person in my family without a degree, and that used to make me feel less than them, or not as intelligent. The truth was I was very ambitious, I just knew that going to University to study Art was not an option for me.
I hid from my creativity for a long time, because I thought creativity was a negative aspect of my character.
Now I’m ready to embrace my creativity because I realised that hiding who I was from the world was making me miserable. More miserable than living as a creative would ever make me and I learned how to manage my creativity.
So I did something different. I broke my family’s tradition and perfect record and I began to express my creativity, even if nobody understood.
Eventually, I put my mind to creativity and realised that I could be an entrepreneur, but these are the things I learned 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’s 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 still find a way to flourish.
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 around my home thinking what I have done now? 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.
Never lose the imagination you had as a child
I absolutely hate it when you hear people saying creativity is childish. It’s not, it’s just that when you’re a child, your imagination is free of limitations and the stress of adult life.
So tap into that mindset, who cares what other people think.
Find inspiration in everything and learn to inspire
When your creative inspiration comes from everywhere, embrace it. If you’re the type of person that loves to look at little details and that everywhere you go you seem to be in awe, the chances that you are creating are likely. Use that gift to create and inspire others.
Be prepared for a creative crash
Working at a small independent art gallery was a huge insight for me, it was an amazing network of artists. It was the first time I got to work with like-minded people and understand that I wasn’t alone.
It turns out that the “crash” I was experiencing, was quite common to experience. A crash of emotions after you make something stems from all the excitement and adrenaline that has suddenly depleted.
Have a plan in place to deal with an oncoming crash. Tell a loved one you are engrossed in what you’re doing (although they’ll probably guess) and set up steps such as regular breaks and walks in nature to avoid potential burnouts.
Spend time with like-minded people
Find some people out there that have similar hobbies. Find an outlet to expend energy or feelings. For me, blogging has been an amazing chance to connect with creative people and deal with some emotions when I’m depressed.
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.