1. Most importantly let go of the belief that you are not creative or you’re ‘not good enough’ if already involved in some form of creative expression. We are all creative! We create at any time when we’re using our imagination, problem solving, trying out different options in any part of our life. And we can find new and exciting ways to express our creativity.
2. Don’t know where to start? Be open to possibilities. Be curious. Maybe you remember something creative you enjoyed when you were younger, but life got busy with other things. Try out different forms of creativity – writing, drawing, singing, dancing, crafts like knitting or woodwork. Don’t put any pressure on yourself as you explore, just have a play and see what draws your attention.
3. Let yourself be a beginner. Most of us have high expectations of what we think we should be able to achieve even at the start of learning something new and we often fear the judgement of others. But when we begin we usually don’t have the particular skills needed, so we need to learn and play and accept the rawness of our creativity. And sometimes that’s exactly what you’re looking for, but at other times we need to build our skills step by step and this takes time.
4. Learn to be self-compassionate as you experience different feelings such as frustration or disappointment. Self-compassion is a way of being kind towards yourself. It’s also about acceptance. We experience a range of feelings when creating and some feelings may be uncomfortable. But by being accepting and caring we can acknowledge these feelings and gently let them go.
5. Fire your Inner Critic. Perhaps you recognise that little or big voice inside you that runs a commentary on your creative attempts. Things like “I’ll never be any good at this”, “I’m too old/young/uncoordinated/tone deaf/…” fill in the blank! There are endless variations of our Inner Critic, but practice letting it go and instead turn towards self-compassion and developing an Inner Supporter!
6. Keep a journal. An unlined art diary is ideal to jot down ideas and express your feelings – your joys and frustrations. You can doodle, sketch, write poetry, prose or just use words or symbols. For some creatives, carrying a small journal as you go about your everyday activities can be a source of ideas for your creative expression. You may get inspiration for your next poem, song, drawing from what you see on a bus journey or as you sit in a café.
7. Make the time. We live in such a busy world but even finding small amounts of time to honour our creativity is valuable. In The Creative Seed I talk about Speed Dates where even 10 mins a day to do a quick sketch, sing in the car, jot down ideas for a story keeps creativity moving along and this will be invaluable when you do have more time. It’s all about honouring and nurturing that creative spark inside.
Lilian Wissink, has over twenty years’ experience as a counselling psychologist assisting people to discover and realise their potential. Her philosophy on creativity is encompassed in her book The Creative Seed, out in paperback in April.