Fostering creativity

  I think creativity is one of those things that we often don’t consider as being a skill. When we talk about artists, musicians and designers, we often talk about…

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I think creativity is one of those things that we often don’t consider as being a skill. When we talk about artists, musicians and designers, we often talk about their talent, their abilities seem innate rather than something that has been learned, worked on and polished. I’ve certainly thought about it this way for a long time.

I remember having multiple arguments in my teenage years with my mother on the subject.

“I one hundred per cent believed that those around me just had a knack for things. As if they were born, picked up a paintbrush and started dashing paint around until they created a Monet style work of art at the age of one.”

Looking back, that was most likely due to self-esteem issues, but it’s certainly deeply ingrained into society that the ability to be creative only comes to certain people.

I never considered myself to be a creative person but perhaps that’s the wrong way of looking at things. I’m surrounded by family that have creativity positively oozing out of their pores whether it be music, art or design. These people have put so many hours into honing their skills, they’ve played with techniques, tried and failed at different projects, they’ve learned lessons and ultimately grown from their experiences. I think we need to start looking at creativity as a skill that anyone can really channel.

Recently, I read an article that discussed creativity in childhood vs adulthood. In our formative years, our creativity levels seem to hit a peak, there is a level of imagination that children have that is very rarely found in adults. Young kids are taught to experiment with different media, express themselves through all kinds of art styles, from dress up, to messy play or simply drawing/painting. Once we hit Year Three (UK) the creative exploration is kept for Art lessons which happen maybe twice a week at most. Secondary schools give teenagers the ability to explore the different arts by specializing but there are usually no creative lessons that are enforced after a certain point, perhaps this is the reason we are overall less creative as adults?

Creativity seems to become a skill that is thrown to the wayside quite quickly once we start specializing. There are those that go on to subjects and jobs that are entirely wrapped in a creative bubble, but I’d suggest that the majority will only work on their creative skills in their time off and if their hobbies allow!

“Think about your hobbies for a second, I’m interested to hear how often you express yourself in a creative manner or practice your creative skills?”

Personally, my interests have stayed very solid for the last 15 years. I’ve been solely interested in gaming. Though there are always stories involved in the games I play, I’m never the one creating them. I think that if I’d had a better balance of interests I would have been a much better problem solver and creative thinker at this point.

So, how can we introduce some more creativity into our daily lives?

It’s a struggle as an adult with responsibilities to find the time to really explore new avenues, I fully appreciate this. However, I think there are some ways that we can acquaint ourselves with the creative genius inside us!

Here are my top ten ideas for injecting some creativity into your daily life:

1. Exploring with the kids
As we already discussed, kids are a fantastic source of creative spirit. Think about all the messy things that they want to do and get involved. Paint, model clay, make Christmas cards or Halloween decorations, paint stones, bake cakes etc. Get yourself involved in the messy play, go back to your childhood and immerse yourself. I don’t even have little ones and I found myself buying some modelling clay this year just to explore the medium a little more.

2. Writing a journal/bullet journal
This is one of my favourite options. I had the realization in the Autumn of last year that I was severely lacking in all things creative. I love to write lists, so the bullet journal was a great place to start. I managed to keep going up until August this year, but I’ll be starting up again with my new journal in January 2019!

3. Taking up a new hobby
Think of the subjects that you enjoyed in school. For me, it was Drama, Art and Home Economics. Although I still have a dramatic flair I’m way too shy to get up on stage as an adult and act. The two that draw me in now are art and cooking. Recently, my husband and I set food challenges for each other, we’ve got our own little MasterChef Australia thing happening. We picked cuisines from a hat and must make a three-course meal for the other person. The cuisines that we picked are Indonesian and Mexican, so we’ll see where that takes us.

Our first iteration of the challenge was creating each other’s favourite appetizer, main and dessert. It’s safe to say that neither of our attempts went perfectly but we both learned a lot in terms of time management, problem-solving and creative thinking.

4. Having a home/space shake-up
I get quite a lot of creative ideas for the house crop up over time and never really invest a weekend into doing them. A lick of paint on the walls, re-decorating a room or just adding a little artistic flair somewhere can really get those juices flowing.

5. Visit some exhibits, listen to new music or enjoy a comedy show
This is quite like the previous one, it’s all about getting that inspiration. I recently went to an open day with my sister for her graphic design course, there were a huge number of sketchbooks and projects in each of the rooms and when I got home I found myself more excited to try out some new techniques in my bullet journal next year!

6. Have a chat with friends
Having people around you who are creative is a great way to feel that get up and go. My sister is usually the source of most of my inspiration, she is never scared to try new things when it comes to art and talking to her about the subject is a fantastic way to get a gentle kick up the bum when I’m in a rut.

7. Start an inspiration board
Pinterest is fantastic for this kind of thing. At the moment I’m using it as a place to list interior design ideas, craft/bullet journal ideas and fashion. A simple search with a creative term will bring up hundreds of ideas that you can replicate or give you the inspiration to try something a little innovative.

8. Collect small items from your day to day
As a child, I used to love scrapbooking. Having a collection of little keepsakes in a book that I could decorate was a really helpful way of remembering things that had happened through the year and it helped give the creative side of my brain a workout.

9. Force yourself to think more creatively
A fab way to do this is to force yourself to make your family and friends Christmas gifts or cards this year. It’s handy because it makes you think more about what the person might want from you and at the same time you are challenging yourself a little bit. You might even learn that you enjoy something that you’d never tried before. Soap and candle making are on my list for this one.

10. Just do it
There is probably something in the back of your head that you’ve always wanted to explore a little more. Personally, I’d love to learn to play the piano, it’s something that I’ve never done before but I’ve always had an interest in it from a distance. Set a goal for yourself to try out one new creative project this year!

Again, creativity isn’t an innate talent. There are some people that have a better knack for it, in the same way, that someone might be a fantastic communicator or have the ability to solve problems quickly. Remember that practice and time investment can go a long way in helping you reach your goals.

So, are you planning to be more creative in the future, what are some creative interests that you haven’t explored and are thinking of delving into?

Thanks for the images to RawPixel and Alice Achterhof on Unsplash.

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