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There's an unfair assumption that many people have about artists. That is that artists are born creatively gifted and that their talents come naturally. As an artist and maker, I can tell you that this could not be further from the truth. I am a firm believer that everyone is born with creativity, we just don't get to practice it enough. Think back to when you were a little kid. As a child, I would make blanket forts with my sister with the cushions from our couch. We'd frolic with unicorns in our backyard and pretend to fly with them on our swing set. We put on dance recitals for our parents and their friends and our lawn became a beachside resort for friends coming over to play. I'll be you anything, you've had similar experiences, growing up. What happened? Once we reached adulthood, those visions of unicorns are replaced with the pressure to succeed in this corporate world. Specifically, this pressure is what's fueling the current creativity crisis. We all have energy reservoirs which we draw from to deal with the day-to-day grind. It's what powers our physical stamina, our emotional well-being, our mental resilience, and our spiritual beliefs. Once that reservoir is depleted, we simply do not have the capacity to deal with anything else without being overwhelmed. At this point, it's impossible to even consider doing something creative for ourselves. Unfortunately, so many of our jobs are just that demanding, mine included and I'm in the creativity business! You'd think that being a self-employed entrepreneur is a dream job and it is. But, it also comes with it's own unique set of challenges that are just as stressful as those in traditional lines of work. So, how do we change this downward spiral? I've got a few ideas that start with bringing creativity into your daily practice.
Bring back those unicorns!
Creative projects don't have to be elaborate works of art. In fact, if you're doom-scrolling Pinterest to get inspiration, you might just be setting yourself up for failure. I would challenge you to set aside your mobile device for a bit and hear me out. During my time at the makerspace, we would often do a creative ice breaker as part of our morning huddles. This included doodling a quick sketch from a random word or scribble or simply illustrating some catchy prompts for our paper-covered doodle table . It took less than five minutes to complete and helped set the tone for the rest of the day. You could easily do this same exercise by searching for a list of random words or prompts for sketching (there are many, especially during this time of year) or simply closing your eyes and doodling a scribble then adding to it, with your eyes open, of course. I would encourage you to have a sketchbook specifically for these exercises. Short-term, having a dedicated sketchbook is special and exciting and can help keep you motivated. Long-term, it serves as a journal that you can look back on for inspiration and is a cheaper habit than your morning coffee. Doing these short exercises uses very little energy from the reserves and can be performed anywhere, at work or at home.
If you feel like you have a little extra energy in the reserve tank, taking virtual classes on platforms like Skillshare can be a great way to learn something new without the stress of physically having to be in a class. You can take the class at your own pace, viewing it whenever you have a free moment. You can also interact with the instructor if you have questions or need clarification on something specific. I've taken many classes this way and it's a nice way to learn something new without any pressure.
Finally, see if your company would be willing to host a monthly creativity team builder. These can include things like bring-your-own-booze paint nights, team T-shirt design, or a cardboard construction challenge. Does putting something together like this seem too daunting? Consider hiring me to run some of my creative classes for you. I guarantee we'll have you feeling inspired in no time!