Like many people I was creative as a kid but as I grew up other things got in the way of creativity. Work, friends, boyfriends, family, there wasn't much time left for creativity. Years turned into decades and then one day that creative spark was ignited again.
To be honest, at first, I didn't really know what to do with this creative calling. I tried photography, scrapbooking, art journaling, painting and currently jewelry making. I'm still trying new and different activities and techniques. I'm still looking for a creative outlet that is 'me' and a style that I can call 'mine'. It's not always easy and when I try to do too much it can be overwhelming. However, overall I'm enjoying the journey. Although I can't say I'm at my destination yet, here are a few things I do know about reclaiming your creativity.
1. Make Space
It doesn't have to be a whole room dedicated to your craft - although wouldn't that be nice. It could be a corner of a room, or like me, one end of the dining room table. Sure I have to move stuff when my husband wants to sit down to eat and it all gets shoved into a cupboard when we have dinner parties, and I blame this for all the unfinished projects I've got hidden under the stairs, but we have to make do with what we have, right?
2. Break it Down
If you are just starting out on your creative adventure saying you want to be a Mixed Media Artist or Carpenter is a good start, but it can be very ovewhelming when you think of all the tools and techniques you will need to learn to be skilled in such an area. However, if you break it down into smaller projects such as one 8 x 8 abstract encaustic painting or one 6 x 6 birdhouse the tools, materials and techniques needed to create your project become much more achievable.
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
It sounds so simple and obvious but how many times have we all had an idea that faded off into the ephemera because we didn't do anything about it?
- Write down on a piece of paper, any piece of paper will do, what you want to achieve.
- Then make a list of all the materials you will need to complete your project. If you cannot get them all at once try getting them in the order you will be needing them. For instance for that 8 x 8 abstract encaustic painting you will most likely need your substrate, paint and tools for painting before the final layers of wax.
- If you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve try making a sketch of the finished product. It doesn't have to be elaborate a few thumbnail sketches may be all you need to jog your memory and keep you focused.
- If your idea is somewhat vague, try creating an inspiration board. Sit down with some good quality paper adhesive, a stack of magazines and a piece of cardstock (you can even use empty cereal boxes for this). Cut out pictures that help you to form your idea. You may find yourself cutting out pictures of birds, patterns, or colour to help you express your idea. Adhere them to your cardstock and keep the inspiration board near your working area. And you don't have to stop there. You can add to it as and when you find appropriate images.
- Now you have a your project in mind you need to make a list of all the supplies you will need. If you need a lot of supplies you can always make a timetable and budget for gathering supplies.
4. Find Time.
It's hard when we have kids to get to school, jobs to get to and family needs to take care of. Saying we have no time is one of the easiest excuses going. Is it true? Do you really have no time? Or do you really mean that you'd love to be an artist but not so much that you'll turn the television off and make thirty minutes to work towards a goal?
If you really can't find ten minutes a day perhaps you don't really want it as badly as you think you do and perhaps you should give yourself a break go put your feet up and watch that soap!
For those that do get up early to work on thier creativity or unplug every now and again, give yourself a pat on the back and go here to Sharon Thomlinson's All Norah's Art YouTube channel. Take a look at her MorningArt series of videos - you'll be amazed at what she achieved with just ten minutes a day...
5. Finish Something
There may be times when you are frustrated, overwhelmed or just don't have time for your project, but keep going! Resist the urge to dump the whole thing in the trash. If you are overwhelmed or frustrated walk away and come back to it another day with fresh eyes. If life gets too hectic and you just don't have time to work on your project try to keep it fresh on your mind. Think about the task you need to complete as soon as you can get back to it. Make a schedule if you need to and you may just find yourself ticking off one of those tasks while you have a free ten minutes to spare.
And don't forget you can be creative in other ways too; in how you dress, in the meals you prepare, in how you present your home. So next time you have to put down the paint brush to make a batch of pancakes for the family breakfast, don't get frustrated. Instead, remind yourself that you are being creative!
A mighty stack of pancakes image from Cooking with Steam.
Have a happy day,