Creating Creativity: Don’t wait for the spark, go get it.

Wednesday is my creative day.  I usually have either nothing planned (except physio – not very creative!) or spend the day with a fellow writing friend and then go to a writing group.  As a writer and photographer and blogger it would surprise nobody to find that I need a lot of creativity in my life to feel fulfilled but even I need to make an effort to build this in to my life.  If I don’t consciously plan the time I will end up spending the day binge watching Orange Is The New Black and eating overpriced Easter eggs.  Don’t pretend you’ve never done it, we’ve all been there.

It almost sounds like an oxymoron: planning for creativity.  Isn’t creativity just innate?  Doesn’t it strike when it wants and we are just at it’s whim?  Don’t artists just wander around waiting to see something inspiring?  Don’t all writers just sit down one day and write a masterpiece based on a passing daydream?  Well, no.  If we did we would all starve to death waiting for the magic to happen.  Sitting down to write a novel or getting the paints out to create a masterpiece or even going out to capture a stunning image on film might start with a spark of inspiration but it comes down to you ACTUALLY DOING IT.  Actually doing it is hard.  Actually doing it takes effort.  Actually doing it takes planning.  Personally, I find planning time every week when I will get down to actually doing it is the only way to guarantee I will.  Other wise, I will have tons of brilliant ideas that end up going absolutely nowhere.  I currently have two poems, a few book chapters and a short story in my head that I haven’t managed to get down because I haven’t planned the creative time in.

So here’s my pledge:

  1.  Wednesday:  Three hours of creativity, minimum
  2. Thursday:  Two hours of creativity minimum
  3. Sunday:  Three hours of creativity minimum

That might sound like a lot but bear in mind a) I work part time and b) I have a novel to write, a blog to get going again and photography to do.  If you’re thinking of building it into your own timetable start smaller and you’ll find it grows.

Not a writer or artist and wondering why you should build creativity in?  Well, it’s proven that being creative can help in all sorts of jobs.  In business?  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to think your way out of tricky business situations in ways colleagues/competitors can’t?  Well, apparently some creative person even invented a job teaching people how to do just that!  Check out this blog about creativity coaches.  Are you a teacher?  Did you know that in Scotland ‘creative learning’ is becoming part of their curriculum?  Creative teaching is also encouraged.  That article notes the benefits of creativity as being flexible in a fast paced environment, building confidence and an appetite for change.  Aren’t all those things basically what you always claim to be in job interviews but are never sure if you really are?  I know they are for me!  (I hate change.  For a creative person I am oddly stuck in my ways.)

Now am not saying that in order to be a better banker/engineer/nurse you should go out there and start painting naked people on the ceilings of chapels.  There’s all sorts of ways to be creative.  Buy an adult colouring book, get a box of Lego and build some cool stuff, write a list of all your favourite words and try to make an funny story with one in each sentence, take up decoupage (it’s literally gluing paper on stuff, the kind of easy art I can get behind).  You’ll relax, you’ll become more creative and after a while you find it benefits all sorts of parts of your life.  But don’t wait for inspiration to strike you, go out there and hunt inspiration down with a sharp stick and a big net and make it work for you!

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