Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly


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Find Yourself a Creative Project

Piles of coloured crayons

In my last post I mentioned exercising your Creativity on a regular basis. The best way to get into a regular Creativity exercising routine is to start a project. Why?

Imagine this scenario. You’ve worked hard all morning and most of the afternoon.  Now you have half an hour to yourself. Your time. Special time. What will you do?

You feel this inexorable tug. The call of the television pulls you toward the couch. But wait! What was that about exercising your Creativity? Wouldn’t this be an excellent time? Yes! But how? You’re tired. Your head’s a jumble. You have no idea where you should start. In your moment of indecision, the TV wins.

Yup, TV wins just about every time barring extreme determination on your part or power blackout. But, there is one way to beat the TV! Would you like to know how?

The winning tactic is: Choose your Creative Project beforehand.

It really can be that simple. If you have your Creative Project chosen, and the next step in your project planned, your chance of breaking away from the TV’s dastardly grasp is that much greater.

What to Choose

Your choice of project is very personal. I can’t tell you what to choose. That’s between you and your Creativity. However, I can offer some suggestions – starting points for ideas. You and your Creativity need to take it from there. Choose something you’re both interested in, because it’s your interest and excitement that will drive the project.

Now, when you think of creativity (the act of being creative rather than the character in your head), it’s easy to think of it in the context of art, literature or something similar. While this at times is a logical place to start, these subjects are not the end all and be all of creative projects. And here I let you in on a little secret. Lean closer to your monitor and I’ll tell you.

We Creativities love influencing every aspect of your life. Once we get going, we usually can’t stop at the odd poem or doodle. We want to keep going, keep creating, keep exploring. And so, some of the suggestions on this list may be a little unexpected – more ‘practical’ than you might first choose. But take the time to roll each one around in your head. You may be surprised at where interest and inspiration strike you.

My Sample List

So, here’s a list of suggestions, from the ‘most obvious’ down to the more unexpected. As you read, look for options that spark ideas in your mind, pinch your gut with excitement, and/or touch off your interest.

  • Writing – You don’t have to be an aspiring author to pick this kind of project. Keeping a journal can be very therapeutic. Poetry is good for the soul. Recording memoirs is a beautiful legacy to leave for future generations. Write something that makes you smile, something that makes others laugh, or something that helps you cry. Buy a beautiful notebook or journal; pick one that inspires you and makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you see it.
  • Painting or Drawing – Once again, you don’t have to be a budding Da Vinci to pick this one. Doodle. Experiment. Get dirty. Paint a canvas. Paint a pot. Paint a house. Use watercolours, oils, charcoal, pencils, crayons, pens, dies, vegetables, tyres, flowers. Anything that leaves a smudge. If you feel an affinity to the brush, pick it up and wield it proudly. And remember, you never have to show anyone if you don’t want to.
  • Craft – What about folk art? Pottery? Knitting? Woodwork? Making jewelry? There are many different kinds of crafts to learn, all with beautiful results. Have you ever considered making lace? Resurrect dying arts and traditions. What about spinning wool? If you’re interested in something, or have always wondered how it’s made, investigate. The answer may be delightfully engaging.
  • Sewing – Alas, it seems the simple act of sewing is one of the dying arts. Remember the good old days when clothes were homemade and all embroidery was done by hand? Remember when you could pick exactly what design, colour, buttons and ribbons you wanted? Recapture the excitement of a new pattern, the wonders of fabric, and the satisfying feeling of having made something yourself.
  • Cooking – Be brave. Experiment. Discover why beetroot and chocolate make great muffins. Discover 23 different recipes for egg whites. Cook every recipe in the entree section of your cookbook, or in the whole cookbook! Find the least used spice in your cupboard and discover its perfect use. Find the dish you are most afraid of cooking and give it a go. Try yeast cooking, and enjoy that lovely smell of freshly baked bread.
  • Music and Singing – Learn a new instrument, or practice one you already know how to play. Learn a new song. Learn a new technique. Play with songs you already know. Play them faster, slower, higher, lower, softer…you get the idea. Experiment with the feeling of the song. Create your own medley. Compose your own song. It’s not as hard as it first sounds. Tinker. Throw caution to the wind and just play; really play, not just in the sense of performing music but in the sense of having fun. Sing, when you’re in the shower, when you’re in your car, when you’re walking, cleaning – anywhere anytime. Look up the lyrics for a song you’ve always mumbled your way through. Replace lyrics of songs. Change the subject, the tense – change one thing, change everything.
  • Language – Learn a new language. Use creative mnemonics to remember words. Discover new idioms. Embrace new cultures. What if you don’t want to start a new language? Why not continue studying the deeper meanings of your mother tongue? Learn new words, or check the nuances of words you already know. Buy yourself a Dictionary of Word Origins and unearth the ancient meanings of the words you use every day. Explore the wonders of the language you take for granted.
  • Viewpoint – Try looking at your life, or a situation in a different way. Change your viewpoint. I’m not just talking about changing a negative to a positive. I’m talking change a blue to a yellow, a discovery to a journey, a criticism to a gem. Take the things that annoy you, frustrate you, bore you, inhibit you, and explore different ways of envisioning them. Build mental pictures of these things. Illustrate the concepts. Find new ways of coping, and enjoying, these situations.

And that’s just a beginning. Did anything stand out to you? Interest you? Intrigue you? Use these points as stepping stones, or launching pads for your own Creative Project.

In the coming months we will explore some of these points in more detail. With that in mind, I present a new category on this blog: Practical Creativity. In this category we’ll consider how your Creativity can benefit you in practical ways. Stay tuned.

In the mean time, do you have any ideas for your Creative Project? If so, let us know. 🙂

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art


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The Need for Creativity

An idea light globe masquerading as a hot air balloonWe use creativity every day. We use it when we run out of sugar, and decide to try honey in our tea. We use it when the freeway is blocked and we try an alternate route to work. We use it when we realise the stapler is as good a paperweight as the Italian snow globe the mother-in-law gave us, which we’ve just broken. Creativity also comes in to play as we try to figure out how we’re going to explain it to her.

Even those of us who consider ourselves less than creative – drink our tea without sugar, dutifully sit in traffic, and never use expensive gifts as paperweights – still use our creativity to get through life.

But many of us believe: There are creative people, and then there’s me. I’m just not creative.

I’ll let you in on a secret. All of us have creativity inside us. It’s how we protect and nurture it that makes the difference between those who are often described as ‘creative’ and those who drink unsugared tea.

“So?” says you. “I’ve managed just fine up until now. Why does it matter?”

Taking a creative approach to work, school, learning and life in general will not only help you stand out from the crowd, but enjoy things so much more.

For example:

  • At work, what distinguishes you from the new computer software that can do your job in half the time?
  • At school, what is the difference between your essay and the 30 other essays on the teacher’s desk?
  • At home, why does the discovery of long lost fabric fill you with excitement?

The answer to all of these questions should be: Your creative approach.

Developing your creative ability allows you to see possibilities in all sorts of situations. It shows your boss you’re a valuable member of the team. It provides a refreshing change to the teacher who reads your essay. It motivates you to make new curtains, a new dress, a new apron, a coat for the dog, a rag doll for your daughter…the list goes on.

“Okay,” you say. “But how does one become more creative?”

I’m glad you asked! At least I hope you asked. My mindreading skills are not exactly legendary. I work mainly on mind-assuming skills.

There are many books, magazines, blogs etc. which deal with creativity and how to develop it. All of them have merit. However, I’d like to introduce you to a different way of looking at creativity. Most methods of developing creativity involve steps, flow charts, circular diagrams, intensive exercises etc. All those have their place. But this blog has a different purpose. I’d like to show you how to get to know her.

Yes, I do know I used the word ‘her.’ Your Creativity may be a boy, but mine is most definitely a girl. A talkative, excitable girl with ridiculous…I mean interesting dress sense and a fascinating workshop.

Ah, now the title all makes sense. Yes, I would like to invite you into my Creativity’s workshop (that is the workshop belonging to Creativity) and demonstrate how you can become friends with your inner Creativity.

Now before you scream, “weird!” and leave as quickly as possible, please give the idea a moment to settle in your mind. After all, most of us are used to that little disembodied voice in our head known as our conscience, and we’re often very comfortable to think of it almost as a separate entity. Well why not try the idea of viewing your Creativity as friend inside your head – a friendship which could lead to many enjoyable and hysterical adventures.

This blog will show how this relationship works (and sometimes doesn’t work) from a ‘normal’ person’s point of view (me) and from Creativity’s point of view. I mentioned she’s talkative. You’ll see for yourself very soon.

I realise this approach is unconventional, but that’s Creativity in general. If you embrace the weird and wacky, life becomes far more interesting…

And on that note, I have nothing else to say except welcome to my blog and please leave a comment.