Would you say you’re creative? The creative type? a creative?

I’ve been thinking about creativity a lot lately. Creativity can be a divisive subject. You might identify very strongly as a creative and feel like your creativity is a key component of your personality. Or do you feel like the door to creativity was locked behind you years ago? I believe anyone can become more creative

Creativity is inatinate in all of us

Last year I read the wonderful ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her premise is that humans are intrinsically creative. As children we draw, tell stories, and make models. joyfully, without fear of judgment.

But as adults, most of us abandon the artistic path in favor of safer careers

I was no different. Although I did attend Art college and then studied fashion at a degree level. Ironically, in the following decade, I was without a doubt, the least creative I’d ever been. I had moved back home to a small town to be with my then-boyfriend (now husband) where there were very few jobs in the creative sector.

Instead, I took a string of steady office roles, eventually settling into a position in financial services that paid the bills whilst I rushed through the checklist of what i felt I needed to achieve in my twenties; House-tick, Marrage- tick. Children- tick.

Admittedly, it was a busy time, and I am proud of what I achieved. But in quieter moments sitting at my desk, I would feel the need for something more. the inherent desire to create was niggling away at me.

Creativity is a muscle that needs to be flexed

It was when I had my second child and took a career break that I found a way back to my creative roots.

No longer defined by my job title, I was free to see myself as a creative again.

I didn’t immediately land on what I wanted to do. it had been so long since I flexed my creative musels. I went through several small businesses with varying success. But writing is the one thing I’ve always come back to. I’ve been doing it in some form- on and off , for nearly twenty years now.

Skill and success are irrelevant

The lovely message of ‘Big Magic’ is that success is not a prerequisite to creativity. It can , in fact, Gilbert argues, can be a hindrance. Because of the pressure success brings. She cites Harper Lee, as just one example of an artist who’s felt unable to compete with the success of her own first novel and subsequently never published anything again in her own lifetime.

I have yet to write a bestselling novel, but that’s okay. I write because I can’t imagine not writing. I’m a writer. whether one person or 1000 reads my latest post. I would still continue to write. Because it’s what makes me happy.

You can be creative even if don’t identify as creative

Your day job does not define you. Anyone can be creative, Even if you’ve literally made nothing since primary school. Small things, even something as simple as making a meal from scratch, will begin to get your creative muscle flexing.

Do something you don’t mind failing at

what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Elendor Roosevelt

In ‘Big Magic’ Gilbert takes that quote, often co-opted by MLM’s huns, and flips it. Asking what would you do, even if you might fail . If, in fact, failure was a more likely outcome than success. Because so much of creativity is failing, making something, breaking it apart and building it up again. So what would you still do, even knowing you would fail again, and again, and still keep going, because to not do it would hurt your very soul?

That thing you do that brings you joy, simply because you are doing it. That, she argues, is what we should be doing.

The benefits of creativity

1. Creativity can get you into a state of flow

There are many ways that creative hobbies can positively affect your wellbeing. One of the most noticeable effects is that taking part in a creative task can help you get into a state of flow. This happens when you’re completely focused on a task, to the point where you think less about things that are worrying you. Being this absorbed can be rewarding and enjoyable – especially because you’re more likely to get into a flow state if the task is challenging enough.

2. Creativity can reduce stress and improve mental health

Several studies have shown that creative hobbies, such as art, writing and music, can reduce and even prevent stress. You may find that, after a stressful day, enjoying a hobby can help you de-stress and even give you an energy boost. Being creative may also reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and can help us express or manage our emotions in a positive and productive way. Especially when those feelings are difficult to put into words.

3. Hobbies can help you socialise

Hobbies don’t have to be done on your own – they can also be a way to socialise with others who share the same interest. If you enjoy reading, for example, you could join a book club; or if you like drawing or painting, you could join an art class. Group activities like these can be a great way to meet new people. And being socially connected also has a positive effect on our wellbeing.

3 Steps to master Your Creativity

1. Accept you will not be the next Picasso or Beethoven.

Or at the very least you’re unlikely to be. There is a saying, ‘There are no original ideas.’ Free yourself from the pressure of thinking you need to create something completely original or out there for it to be of merit. Even if something has been done a thousand times before, it hasn’t been done by you. Your creativity is your own, cherish it.

2. It’s Okay to copy

That was maybe not what you were expecting me to say. But hear me out. When you first learned to write, you started by copying the shapes of letters. When you learned to tie your laces, you followed the technique your parents showed you. By the same token, if you’re re-learning what it is be create, or even if you’re stuck in a creative rut. I believe there is nothing wrong with literally copying from an artist you admire. note – this is just to get that creative muscle working again. Like stabilizers on a bike.

3. Practice

How do you become a good piano player? Practice. Set aside a little time each day without the disruption of technology and see what ideas come. Read a little each day, ew widley and without prejudice. Travel. Walk. some of my best ideas come to me on my daily dog walk.

Fun ways to get creative

So, now that we know that creativity is good for our health, how do we make the time do it? Balancing work and other commitments with creative activities can be difficult. But it’s possible to incorporate creativity into our busy lives and achieve a good work-life balance. Key to this is managing your time and making your hobby a part of your routine, if you can.

Sarah suggests you start small. “As with other habits, if you’re starting something new then it’s best to start small before trying anything more advanced or buying specialist equipment. You don’t want to feel pressured to spend time on a new hobby. So, see how you can fit it into your everyday life, and if you get enjoyment from it.”

Still stuck for ideas and need a creative nudge? Here are some of the different ways you can engage in a creative activity and boost your wellbeing.

  • Colour pencil drawing. Do a small, coloured pencil drawing every day for a year and see how your observation and drawing skills improve. By the end of the year, you’ll be a lot better and will have a collection of art as a tangible result. And you won’t need lots of equipment to start with – if you find you enjoy it, you could always try painting next.
  • Photography. Taking a photo is very easy if you have a smartphone. This also encourages you to pay fresh attention to what is around you visually, which we normally have no reason to notice.
  • Write one short story a month. Many of us may not have written an imaginative story since being at school. A short story can be just a couple of pages long and start with a simple question you have. Finishing a story can also be very fulfilling. Or, if you have an idea for a longer story, jot it down and see where it takes you. Writing can help develop research and analytical skills, interest in other languages, and is creative too.
  • Try knitting, crochet or sewing. The repetitive action of knitting, crochet and sewing can be relaxing, while still being creative. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try more complex patterns as you get better with practice.
  • Bake a cake. Baking is not only a creative outlet, but it can also be stress-relieving and fulfilling when you get to eat the end result! Or, even better, give your freshly baked creations to close ones such as friends or family.
  • Start a journal. Simply writing your thoughts down on the page can be therapeutic, and it can be fun to look back on happy memories. You could include drawings, too. If you’re stuck about where to start, you could find some journal prompts online.
  • Make a scrapbook. Do you keep tickets from concerts or journeys you’ve gone on? Why not turn them into art and stick them in a scrapbook? You can get creative with the layout and the design, while keeping your mementos safe.
  • Get green. Looking after plants and watching them flourish is a satisfying and relaxing hobby for many people. You don’t need to have a garden, either – indoor plants have similar benefits, and being around greenery is good for your mental health.

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