This blog is for artists, therapists, teachers, pausers, procrastinators, dreamers, doers wanderers...everyone really. I generally find at any one time I am a combination of all of these things, walking through life, trying to figure it out. Staying creatively fresh supports me on this journey by helping me discover and experience new things.
So why do we need to stay creatively fresh I hear you ask?
Creativity isn't only making art, it's the way we look at and experience the world. It's problem solving, inventing things, finding joy, connecting with others and making discoveries. Staying creatively fresh is a pretty essential life skill to have if we want full and satisfying lives.
For me, creativity is my job and my lifestyle, it pays the bills but also keeps me inspired and energised about my existence.
Sounds deep doesn't it...well I guess it.
Here are 5 ways I keep my creativity fresh, I hope you find them useful.
1. Stay curious - we should never stop learning or asking questions, not ever. Not only does being curious keep our brains active it allows us to explore new things that may end up being really important to us. It's like rummaging around in a charity shop and finding a gem - we don't always expect to find it but it's really exciting when we do! Creativity is exploring - it's making or thinking of new things that didn't exist before. So if we lose our curiosity we can get really stuck, or feel uninspired. The pursuit of creativity moves us through chapters and phases of life, it's a curiosity beyond ourselves. I don't know about you but getting out of my own head is something I need to practice and it helps me a lot when designing workshop spaces and art programs for others. Teachers, therapists, creatives - this is a tip that is definitely for you!
2. Be playful - one of the tragedies of adulthood is the belief we always have to do things for an end result or a specific purpose, we forget how to just play for the sake of it. Play is a form of experimentation, it helps us in being curious and can be loads of fun. It's so easy to forget to seek fun and joy when it comes to creativity, whether it's because we're teaching a repetitive curriculum, or we're bogged down in the duties of our personal and professional lives. Even when you feel there is no space for playtime - there needs to be, although routine can be helpful an overly structured life can significantly limit the creative capacity of our brains because we don't need to think outside of our circumstances, or think on out feet. Trust me, I've learned the more I let go of overly intense planning, the more opportunities have come my way.
3. Try other modalities regularly - basically, don't always stick to what you know. Sure, it can feel comforting and safe to be in familiar territory but it can also be limiting or frustrating if we stay there too long. Our confidence in trying new things can lessen the more we avoid trying them which can lead us to never finding new passions, missing opportunities for joy or growing our capacity to be resilient after we fail or struggle with something. Being safe in certain areas of life is essential, but when it comes to our creativity, experimentation is key. I do this by going to other peoples workshops, watching other creatives tutorials online, listening to inspiring podcasts, trying out new materials with no other purpose than just trying them and seeing what emerges. Pick up something new today and see how it goes, don't pressure or judge yourself, just try something new and see what happens.
4. Don't assume only teachers do the teaching - after running workshops, sessions and groups for quite a few years now this has something I feel is more deeply true every day. The people sat in your groups will teach you just as much if not more than you teach them. For those of us who lead sessions - we are the facilitators, the teachers are every single person in the room, we all learn from each other. The moment that you realise that and experience it in sessions I promise you, you will never be the same, in a good way! I find often in workshops as the group starts to talk and share, new ideas are born. One time, somebody brought such a cool idea to the table, I through out the session plan and we gave their idea a go. Be prepared to go off script and follow somebody else's lead, it's a game changer.
5. Get bored - yeah you heard me right, we need to allow ourselves to have some unoccupied time. Nowadays it is almost impossible not to be doing something, we are more contactable and connected to devices than ever before, but when we are bored or unoccupied our brains can wander and think about things. In these thinking spaces our brilliant brains can often work out solutions or create new options for things we hadn't been able to solve previously. I think of it as giving our minds some room to breathe and in doing so we create space around problems, issues or concerns in which we can investigate and find resolution - pretty cool huh. The art of stopping is for sure an ongoing practice for me, I'm currently doing it when I come home after work - I lie on my bed and have a little think. It's 10 minutes or so where my mind gets to wander without a deadline or a purpose, it just stretches it's legs and even if in that moment I don't have any major revelations I am positive that it contributes to other moments of break through. Funnily enough, a lot of my best ideas for art program content comes later in the evening after one of these quiet times.
Now because you're all so great I've got another tip, so it's 6 for the price of 5 this month - you're worth it. Be brave - opportunities to grow are going to come if you lean into the steps above. Growing can be uncomfortable, but in our adjusting new ways of thinking, connecting with others and our ability to live our fullest lives can expand. Basically the discomfort is worth it, take it from someone who set up an art business right before covid, I've been uncomfortable for while now, but I can see where some of that discomfort is taking me - what it's producing. At the very least it's forcing me into developing better patience, it's baby steps but it's happening. My content is better when I stay fresh I know that, so I'm committed to it forever so I can continue to grow what I offer you all.
Staying fresh in our creativity can expand our lives, why not give the above steps a go and see where it leads you.
Thanks for reading and remember, creativity is good for you and collage is great place to start!
Love always, Catherine