When we were kids, creating was a full-time job. Through creativity we learnt, laughed and lived. And although it is cliché, it doesn’t make it any less of a truth – as we get older, we become less creative. However, this innate desire to create never leaves us. We’ve just forgotten about it, or we have changed the way we think about it.
Art and creative expression is something that everyone is capable of.
One of the biggest creative blocks is the self. The phrase I hear so often and that irks me the most is, ‘I wish I could (draw)’. You can! Everyone can! The only thing stopping us are our thoughts that are telling us we can’t. We need to be mindful of how we are talking to ourselves and try not to get carried away with our inner bully. Unfortunately, our inner bully does not get along with creativity, and it is important – in all aspects of life – to learn how to dim the negative chatter.
If you have not created in a long time, actively creative people can be intimidating, which is a sure-fire way to talk yourself out of creating. It is easy to scroll through Instagram and think, ‘I couldn’t draw that. I will never learn how to paint like that. I can never be that good.’ Unfortunately, someone else’s creativity can sometimes trigger envy or frustration within us for various reasons, not joy for the person’s achievement or motivation for our own work. Instead of running with these negative feelings, we should put that energy into… you guessed it – creating.
Don’t judge your creativity
Don’t stop after one unsatisfactory attempt, because giving up is the only sure way to fail. It is so easy to stop doing something if you feel it is too difficult, or if you’re not good at it straight away. You wouldn’t tell a child that their drawing is terrible, and that there is no point in continuing. Be kind to yourself! When you stop judging your work you will begin to enjoy the process – and isn’t that what it’s all about?
There is also a lot to be said about being silly. Have fun with your creativity – just because we’re a little older doesn’t mean we can’t be silly! Drip the paint on in globs. Get it all over your fingers. Do that silly sketch of the cat in the laundry basket. Scribble. Laugh. Throw paper-mâché. And most importantly, relax and enjoy yourself.
Buy some materials, or give some attention to your old tools – then use them
Crisp, shiny, new materials can inspire you to get creative. And if you cannot afford new materials, then clean, sharpen, rearrange and colour-coordinate your current supplies. You will need to fight the many excuses that will come up – why you cannot spare ten minutes using these new materials to do a drawing of the guy you saw sleeping on the train today. Or that your desk is too messy to even begin a drawing. Or that you don’t have the right materials for the work. Fight all your resistance to create, and just do it. It will feel great.
Disconnect from your devices
It’s great to use apps for inspiration – but it is also very easy to become lost. A few minutes of scrolling can turn into an evening. When we claim we do not have enough time to create – take a look at how much time is eaten up by mindless scrolling. Try to disconnect just one day per week and spend some time being creative.
Take a class
Creativity is what we nurture here at Melbourne Art Class. We have a lot of beginners’ courses in the hope to inspire people to revisit and explore their creativity. If you are in a bit of a creative funk, classes can really help pull you out of it. They create an opportunity for you to create in a group environment, which is difficult to do on your own when you are lacking motivation. Attending a regular class with like-minded creative people changes the way you think for an extended period of time, which is significant because most of us have our home brain and our work brain. Schedule two and a half hours in a creative environment into your work week, and I can guarantee it will lift you.
Allow yourself to be creative
You may have noticed that I have said we need to “allow” ourselves to be creative. This may sound strange, because we didn’t have to do that when we were kids. We just did it. As an adult however, there are so many things blocking us from being creative. It is important to remember that we can still be – and need to be creative.
Have you noticed, that when you allow yourself to be creative:
Your thoughts become quieter.
or doesn’t even matter.
You are in flow.
And being in flow is undoubtedly one of the best feelings in the world.
If we allow ourselves to create, without judgement, it will bring something new and create a lightness in our lives. We need to allow ourselves to spend time on things that may not have a monetary outcome – or a defined outcome at all. That can be a little scary in the adult world. Though there really is nothing to lose – after all, we were born to do what we love.
Written by Lauren Ottaway