02 October, 2013

AWAKENING CREATIVITY {creative habits-1}

For the past several months I've been collecting tips and ideas about stimulating, training, and nurturing your creative side. Some of these ideas came from books and articles I've read, others from my own experience. I like to think of them as creative habits; tiny actions that help you maintain your creativity. Today I will share my first 3 favourites.

You probably read, heard, seen this one before; every advocate of creativity suggests you carry a notebook at all times. I'll be honest, I was extremely sceptical of this advice.
First of all, I have a really good memory and rarely feel the need to write my ideas down. Secondly, I do not have urges to write things down, I prefer to think them over. I was never successful at keeping a journal or a diary so having a notebook seems unnatural to me.
Finally I am never sure what to write about .... I gave the notebook idea a try because of my long commute - I decided to use it to draft my blog posts (in fact I am writing this one on my way to work).  One day, when I was feeling creative, I jotted down some of my thoughts that later on became craft projects.  Then, a couple of days later I was happy to have the notebook to write down names of artists my sister mentioned to me.
Before I knew it, the notebook became an important part of my creative process allowing me to"dump" all the ideas, free my head for the new ones, and to use its pages for planning and brainstorming.
Do not dismiss the idea of a notebook even if, like me, you do not feel the urge to write.  Have it with you and start writing down your creative thoughts, I promise you'll see the benefits of this very soon.

Each of us has our own time of day when our energy, capacities, and creativity are at their strongest.  While I am not really a morning person I feel the most productive as soon as I wake up.  These first waking hours are perfect for all the mental work and for my writing.  My head feels clear and ideas are spilling out onto the page.  Later on, during the day, I become "heavy" and quiet.  I like this time for the routine, mundane work but do not expect any creative breakthroughs to happen.  Later in the evening, my energy comes back but this time I am good with actual creating, rather than thinking or generating ideas.  Evening is my time for crafting, working on images, or typing up my blog posts.
This time-energy distribution seems very natural to me.  In fact I can not imagine doing my things any other way and I am always surprised when people don't plan their days the same way.  But we are all different and each of us feels optimal at different times.  Eric, for example, can not be creative in the morning and my sister prefers to paint late at night, time when I am way too relaxed and sleepy to produce anything meaningful.  Even our exercises schedules are different: Eric enjoys working out in the evening and I love a good morning workout that keeps me energised for the whole day.
Find the time of the day when you are most creative.  Try different patterns and see how your body and your brain will react to them.  Do not fight your natural cycle, work with it, and you'll be able to create more effortlessly.

I've already mentioned this and will probably mention over and over again, that I firmly believe that you can nurture your creativity.
Just like physical exercises strengthen your body, quizzed and riddles help your brain to stay agile, doing creative activities will help you in developing your creativity.  
If practicing your craft gets to be repetitive try finding a second (third, forth) creative hobby.  And if your main "occupation" is not very creative having a creative outlet will definitely help you.   Your "hobby" (this is how I call any creative activity done outside of work) might have little in common with your main occupation.  In fact, the less it has in common the more beneficial it is, challenging you in new ways.
I've first noticed this phenomenon during my ikebana classes when I had several ongoing paper projects at home.  After a couple of  weeks I noticed that  I would struggle less with my ikebana arrangements; they came out easier, while remaining complex and interesting.  Even my teacher noticed the progress, mentioning that my works were reaching a new level.  At the same time my paper projects were changing; I created more, had lots of interesting ideas, and really enjoyed the final results.
If you have reached a plateau in your creative domain, if you are looking for new ideas, or if you simply want to nurture your creativity - learn a new craft or try yourself in a new artistic domain.  
You will be pleasantly surprised by the results!

Here you have it, my 3 favourite habits that can help you awaken your creativity.  I will be coming back to the topic sharing more tips and ideas that will undoubtedly help you along your creative journey.

The beautiful artwork for the Awakening Creativity series is made by my talented sister Liza

Previous posts from the Awakening Creativity series:

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