How To Build a Creative Habit
Self-discovery, increased self-esteem, a space to process feelings, reduced stress, improved problem solving, the benefits of creativity are well known and well documented, but if you’re not an Artist how do you access this magical healing power that is being creative? The honest truth is that although the lone painter in their studio is often the picture that jumps to mind, creativity comes in so many forms you could spend your life trying out every possibility (what a wonderful life mission by the way). But where do you start to prioritise being creative, and building it into your life?
1. You don’t need to be an Artist
This is the foundation. It brings me so much sadness when I hear people say they are either ‘not creative’ or they’re not an Artist (with a capital A). A very small number of people are a professional ‘Artist’ but EVERYONE is an artist and creative. Your skill level doesn’t impact your enjoyment of being creative. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been creating things your whole life, or if you’ve only just picked up a paint brush for the first time. This is about the happiness, relaxation, escapism, inspiration, energy or whatever other emotion being creative brings out in YOU.
2. Figure you what you enjoy
There are so. many. ways. to explore and express your creativity. Often our ability (or I should say inability) to draw photorealistic pictures in school leaves a lasting impression on our confidence, that we must not be creative. Being able to realistically draw a bowl of fruit is just one small activity within one discipline of one corner of creativity. The excitement of life is to investigate the things that bring us joy, and what you enjoy is completely unique to you. Cooking, doodling, building, painting, knitting, photographing, writing, reading, whittling, singing, dancing, making, changing, inventing, analysing, thinking... If you are determined to prioritise living a more creative life, it is so important to figure out what creativity is to YOU.
3. Focus on enjoying the process instead of the outcome
If you had a pound for every time you heard ‘enjoy the process’ right? But that’s because it’s so true! Of course it’s great to come out with a perfect end product that you can treasure forever, or the most perfectly baked cake, or the most mind-blowing prose, an impeccable painting or whatever it is that brings you joy to create... but the sooner you let go of those expectations, the quicker you can start just enjoying where your experimentation takes you. If you’re enjoying experimenting with no pressure to create the most amazing __________ then guess what? You’re likely to practise more, you hone your skills and you become happier with each iteration. Or you might decide that half way through something you’ve started that you’ve got from the process what you needed, and you’re happy to put it down. You don’t even need to finish it to feel the wellbeing benefits!
4. Carve out time
Like a lot of things in life we know we’ll feel the benefit of being creative, but how do you find the time?! Like deciding to exercise more, eat healthier, see more of our friends and family, it takes work to prioritise the things we know will make us happier and healthier, so we need to decide to MAKE time. How much time is up to you and it doesn’t need to be dedicating a whole day to crafting. I only practise guitar for 5 minutes after I’ve had my breakfast in the morning and that sets me up for the day. Do what works for you and what fits into your lifestyle.
5. Find your flow
Once you start to prioritise carving out time to be creative however that looks for you, as everything starts to feel more smooth and you are able to lose yourself more in what you’re doing, you’ll start to find what scientists call ‘flow’. Feeling flow means you feel immersed, focused and successful in what you’re doing. This feeling of success raises your belief in your ability and this closes the loop motivating you to keep doing more of what brings you joy. Then when you reconsider the first point, you might feel closer to an Artist (with a capital A) than when you started!
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