Creatively blocked? Let your inner artist out to play

Creative-at-heart type? Creatively-blocked type? “Not-a-creative-bone-in-my-body” type? According to Julia Cameron (author of ‘The Artist’s Way’), there is no such thing as a non-creative person. But for many of us, it can seem impossible to find the time, confidence or outlet for creative pursuits. But are we neglecting that part of ourselves to our own detriment? Studies show that expressing ourselves creatively can calm anxiety, lift a low mood and even strengthen us physically. Not to mention that when we take time on a regular basis to create art we often begin to feel more energised and alive. Some would even go so far to say, creativity is an essential element of our lifeblood.

 

  1. Why we might suppress our creativity

 

Children are highly creative and see opportunities to express themselves everywhere. Why then do we often lose touch with that part of ourselves when we grow up?

 

Adult life is full of responsibilities, and many of us can end up feeling that we simply don’t have the time anymore for something as frivolous as painting or writing a poem. Maybe we tell ourselves that making art is what professional artists are for, and that we wouldn’t be able to produce anything ‘good enough’ anyway. Or we worry about making a mess, or feeling foolish, or wasting money. Maybe we’ve even dreamed of being an artist once, but abandoned that dream fearing the bad rep that artists get (who’d want to end up a lonely eccentric with a drinking problem anyway?).

 

But give your inner artist another chance. Because they’re there, waiting in the wings… Creativity is a natural part of us all, and finding enjoyable ways to express ourselves may be as beneficial for our wellbeing as regular exercise.

 

2.Start somewhere, anywhere

 

If we haven’t really done anything creative in a long while, starting again can feel awkward. So let it feel awkward, and just start. Try anything that appeals to you. Sing, dance, draw, write, take photos, knit a hat, decorate a cake, or arrange leaves and pebbles into a nature mandala. Sprinkle a little creativity on your daily activities – think twice about how you prepare your food or wrap a gift, experiment with makeup and clothes, doodle when inbetween taking notes.

We don’t need to produce something exceptional when we create. Or wait for inspiration to strike. Just produce something. Elizabeth Gilbert (author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’) suggests that we stop thinking of creativity as a ‘talent’ or a ‘gift’ but instead view it as a source that everyone can channel.

And if you feel really blocked because you loathe the idea of making a mess or a mistake during your creative process, pick up a copy of Keri Smith’s ‘Wreck This Journal’. As the title suggests, the journal is designed to be completely destroyed in dozens of creative and fun ways, shaking up our whole attitude towards making art and helping us move past the fear of the blank page.

Add Julia Cameron’s morning pages and artist dates into your creative toolbox too. Morning pages (three pages of stream of consciousness writing completed every morning, written without judgement or review) are a wonderful way to get back into a creative flow and are useful for everyone, not just writers. Julia also recommends making a date with you inner artist once a week (or as often as you can) – take a walk in the woods, visit an art exhibition, buy a flavour of ice-cream you’ve never tasted… whatever really that nurtures that curious, creative, fun-loving part of yourself.

 Get inspired with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Ted Talk

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