It’s incredible to believe that seven years have passed and I’ve become more and more distanced from my creative self. As we head into Autumn it’s the perfect time to start shedding old patterns to make way for new habits.
Listed below are just 8 (lucky 8!) of the many creative tools and strategies that have helped me in the past to tap into and boost my creativity – I hope some reasonnate with you.
1. Stress less: Being overwhelmed can put a real dampener on people’s creative ability. Making a commitment to reduce the stressors in your life will help boost your creative juices. Become a creative procrastinator by putting off until tomorrow that which won’t advance your goals today! Meditate to boost your creativity and stress less
2. Diet: Eat well – you’ll have greater physical, mental and emotional energy and be more focused. Knock artificial energizers and stimulants such as caffeine, V’s and alcohol and nicotine on the head (or at least limit your intake). For more energy and creativity up your intake of water, eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, and B group vitamins.
3. Brainstorm: Unleash ideas you’ve been holding back and generate new ones you never knew you had by tapping into the creative power of brainstorming. Creating some pressure by setting a time limit of 5 minutes or setting a target of 20 new ideas can liberate new ideas and free up old patterns of thinking.
4. See your way to success: Visualization is the creation of a clear mental picture of your goals and life desires. Actively picture in your minds eye your desired outcomes. Imagine or “image” the goal as already realized is a powerful creative technique.
5. Collage: Collect images that capture your goals and aspirations. Preparing an image board or collage and placing it somewhere you will see everyday is a great way to affirm goals and ensure the life you desire is always at the forefront of your mind.
6. Normalise failure: Not allowing room for mistakes is one of the biggest barriers to creativity. Normalise failure by viewing setbacks or mistakes as part of the learning process. Reward yourself for having the courage to try.
7. Learn from the experts: Take a class or invest in some bibliotherapy and learn your way to success. The successes I have had with my art have definitely benefited from attending workshops with top artists like Max Gimblett, Megan Schmidt and Jane Kellahan. I’m doing the same with my writing – I’ve benefitted from great authors and teachers like Karl Englesias and Carol Hughes, and the success of romance authors like Robyn Donald and Daphne Clair and editors like Mary Buckham and Sherry Gottlieb.My photography skills received a major boost when I travelled to Puglia, Italy in 2014 for a workshop with inpirational Carla Coulson. It’s always inspiring to learn off people who have a passion for what they do and do it well.
8. Collect feedback: boost your creative confidence by noticing what you do well. A good way to do this is to collect unsolicited feedback that you receive from others. I’ll share some of my recent feedback to show you what I mean – I have a special inspirational feedback journal where I keep comments such as these:
“I saw your beautiful pieces at Thorndon. I recognised them straightaway and loved them sooooooooo much. So did Heather!! They have a strong magnetic pull and for me I just adored them . I found myself in front of one ALL the time.
“I’ve been receiving your inspiring newsletters for some time now and wanted to let you know that I finally saw one of your paintings when my husband and I visited the Affordable Arts Show on Friday. I was busy admiring ‘Whole’ then recognised your name. After seeing your other art works on the website I felt I had to let you know how much I enjoyed them particularly the colours you use and your free flowing style. I would love to come along to your upcoming exhibition. Could you please send me more details nearer to the time?”
“I love it. I really love it.” – Megan Schmidt re abstract “Autumn”
and from the lovely man who brought my award winning Wai art piece love stain,” introducing the “Photographer” who fell in love with your Wai Art Award entry . . . . thank you, R”
All those comments and many more life them make the world of difference to me – it means people have connected with what I do and felt uplifted, happy and positive when my joyfully created works are around. Thanks to this feedback I continue down the path previously less travelled. I can’t encourage you enough to start collecting your own feedback too.”
I’ve done the same with my writing, photography and other creative pursuits. Keeping and reviewing feedback nourishes my creativity.
“It’s bloody blockbuster material, girl! Great characters, great plot, great conflict and tension and stakes that just keep racheting upwards.”
“I know I threw a lot at you and my greatest fear is that I stop a writer dead in their tracks. That would be horrible. But if I didn’t see the potential in your work and in your story — which is sheer brilliance – I wouldn’t push you so hard. Have fun with the revisions — I know you’ll do a great job!”
How this works in practice
If I didn’t take time out to think about my achievements and to replenish I wouldn’t have achieved a fraction of the things I have in my creative and artistic career. Recently I scheduled a block of time and took off to Fiji. Taking this time out helped me stress less and return to my normal life with greater resilience.
Having just purchased a new property, and all the stress that comes with buying and selling and moving etc I’m planning time out again. My soul needs it. By actively investing in myself and my creative skills I’m aiming to came back super inspired and energized. I’m confident that, rather than push myself with self-imposed deadlines and expectations, by taking some time out I’ll be positively brimming with creative ideas and a whole new sense of joy and colorfulness will emerge in my work – both professional and creative.
So even though I’m not actively creativing right now I am proactively visualizing and planning my next creative journey. I’m collecting and adding photos other inspiring images to my visual diary and passion journal to help make my dreams more real. I did they same thing before I went to Maui in 2008 – the last time I felt truly creative following winning the Supreme Art Award and finalling in the The Adam Portrait Award that same year.
I’m looking forward to living with passion and creating with joy again and hope you are too. The world needs more happy people.