Creativity is a hot topic right now. There are thousands of books and studies dedicated to studying the habits of highly creative people and telling us that we can all be creative geniuses if only we will try hard enough. As an artist and creativity coach, I’m known for saying, ‘anyone can be an artist, everyone is creative.’ But what does this actually mean. And is it true?
I’m sure we can all remember a time in childhood when we would happily work creatively and most of us will have drawn avidly at some point, even if only as a very young child. You may have watched your own child pick up a crayon and start drawing. It may not necessarily even be on the paper in front of them, it could be all over your walls and floors! Children are naturally creative problem solvers.
But something happens when we get older that inhibits this natural creativity. We learn to be serious and studious in school and then get a good sensible job that pays the bills. None of this arty farty stuff; that doesn’t apply to us any longer. And the longer we live our lives, not using our creative muscles, the more alien it feels to consider ourselves creative. Is it any wonder that the majority of people do not consider themselves remotely creative.
I’m here to tell you that creative people are not different or special to you. They just have different daily habits that are conducive to creativity. Creative work and structures are embedded into their daily routines. If they have a problem to work through, they might use a mind map (see previous post) to generate new and interesting ideas. They have confidence that their unconscious creative mind will generate new and interesting solutions for them. Through years of accessing their creativity, they trust that there is a wise and knowing part of themselves that knows the answer.
The power of habit: How to do it!
The one and only way to begin to access your own creative genius and to learn to trust this part of yourself is to build a creative habit into your life. It need only be for 5 minutes a day. Have a notebook that you use especially for this purpose and a pen handy: Perhaps it needs to be by your bed so that you do it as soon as you wake up. Or one the counter so that you can do it immediately after breakfast, whatever works for you and your daily routine.
One week of your new creative routine could look like this.
Day 1: Spend 5 minutes simply doodling, just messing around on the paper, letting yourself build up some lines and shapes. Then go about your day as usual.
Day 2. For 4 minutes, allow yourself to just doodle on the page. Nothing to write or do or think about. Just relaxing doodling. Then spend the final minute thinking about what your doodles might mean? How did it feel doing it? Do the shapes remind you of anything?
Day 3. Look at something you use every day, it could be a watch, your phone, a toothbrush, a fork or spoon. Anything. And then spend 5 minutes drawing it. It doesn’t need to be a masterpiece; it doesn’t need to look like a photograph. Just enjoy looking and drawing.
Day 4. Spend 4 minutes drawing an everyday object, as you did the day before. Then spend a minute thinking about how you felt, whilst you were drawing. Were you worrying about the day or were you totally focussed? Could this be a useful energy to cultivate, during your day?
Day 5: Spend 5 minutes drawing your day. Your commute to work, the conversations you had, what you ate, how you felt. Use any sort of lines or symbols to do this. The only rule is not to use text! Remember only you need to see this, it needn’t be a masterpiece. It only needs to make sense to you.
Day 6: Spend 4 minutes drawing your day and then the final minute looking at your drawing to see if anything unexpected has been revealed to you. If so, write this insight down.
Day 7: Spend 4 minutes writing a note to your creativity. Get to know it. Let it know that you want to engage with it again. Make friends with it. See if it has any responses for you. Spend the final minute just seeing what responses you get from it. Then congratulate yourself on your week of creativity! You have begun something very powerful indeed. And you have discovered something that is not outside of you, but was there inside of you the whole time!
Let me know in the comments below what you thought of this? Is it something you are going to try? Is it something you have tried before?
Until next time, keep creative!