How to add creativity to your life

I consider myself a fairly creative person, and I have always enjoyed ‘creative’ hobbies and activities. But I have always wondered what being creative actually means.

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
— Henry Ward Beecher

According to the expert Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carrie Barron, who co-authored The Creativity Cure: How to Build Happiness With Your Own Two Hands, creativity is a form of self-actualisation. So when we absorb ourselves in something we find interesting, we lose ourselves in the moment, and are catapulted out of our concept of time and space. Barron believes “It’s experiencing life at its best, because you’re so at one with your process that you can have a euphoric moment.”

I can really relate to this; and it is for this exact reason why I love immersing myself in my art. There is nothing more stimulating than getting lost in a piece of art! Ever since I could hold a pencil in my hand, I have been drawing and I particularly enjoy drawing portraits. I also love the ideas of capturing an essence in the expression of the person I draw—it’s a form of visual communication. As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

So, is creativity just a characteristic of the art junkies?

“Everybody is born creative, but very few people remain creative.” – Osho, Creativity: Unleashing the Forces Within

Believe it or not, anyone can be creative and creativity is not only associated with the like-minded Leonardos and Van Goghs of this world. We are all inherently born with a form of creativity, it’s just a question of opening up the creative gateways and broadening our mind to new possibilities.  

“The important thing for you is to be alert, to question, to find out, so that your own initiative may be awakened” – Bruce Lee

Our sense of creativity can be activated when engaging in spontaneous thinking, be it when we let our mind wander, day dream, or let our imagination run away with us, which plays an instrumental role in generating ideas and brainstorming solutions to a problem. This is why creativity is not solely bound by the ability to draw a pretty picture, but is a skill that can be realised in all aspects of our life. The act of coming up with new ideas, solutions, products or processes (be it innovative or merely practical) is also essential to fields such as maths, science and business.

When things get a bit crazy in my life and I have a million and one things to, I sometimes feel I put my creativity on the back burner. So I decided to look at how I can hone in on my creative instincts. Take a look at my ways to add creativity in your life; I hope you too will be inspired to follow along with my creative journey!

I set myself a drawing a day challenge

I find it difficult to start a new drawing project, especially when I haven’t done it in awhile. There is always that thread of doubt, “will I still be able to draw”. I was, however, surprised at how it comes back to me. Even if it is just a quick sketch, I’m challenging myself to draw every day, to the point where it became part of my routine.  It’s amazing how good it felt to draw again. Before I knew it, 2 hours had already flown by!

I often find that creating the right ambience helps me get in the creative zone and listening to music works wonders at opening up the creative gateway. After getting lost in my favourite jam, I even feel inspired to draw the musicians who really speak to me through their music.

For those who think drawing is not for everyone, why not check out Betty Edwards’ Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Using a specialised technique, she has developed workshops to help people learn how to draw. Find out more here.

Colour me crazy

I was given an Art of Mindfulness adult colouring book, but I’m ashamed to admit it had been sitting pretty much untouched on my bookcase. So, since it was now time for me to give it a go, I started colouring in a beautifully intricate picture of two parrots in a jungle. I found myself getting totally absorbed in the process, paying particular attention to my colour choice and staying within the lines. So, why is it beneficial for adults to colour in? Well, the process is just so darn relaxing. I felt I could even start thinking productively and in an imaginative ways. Using colour was also a great way for me to unlock my inner artist. Next up, I may even attempt a impressionistic colour-study painting.

Writing my thoughts in a journal

Even if I write mumbo jumbo, I’m making conscious effort to express my thoughts in writing every evening. Not only does this help me process the events of my day and record my experiences, but it is also a great way to generate both creative and strategic ideas, especially for work.

Reading more

There is something so magical about reading a book; I love the idea of being transported into another world and expanding my mind with new and interesting ideas. A great way to get your mind working differently and to inspire creativity, is to read something different. At the moment I’m reading Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, which is mind blowingly interesting! Where the journey is more important than the end, Kafka on the Shore is a strange and surreal story which manages to capture the perfect balance of magic realism, set in a world where sardines fall from the sky, the past and present are intimately connected and man can speak to cats. So yeah, definitely not your run of the mill stories. I also love Murakami’s writing style, analogies and references.

Starting a new hobby

I’m currently trying my hand at sewing, having been roped in by my sister, who is now borderline obsessed with DIY sewing at the moment. All I can say is that it is super fun! I successfully my own quirky scrunchie and my hands are now itching to start altering items in my current wardrobe.

Be active in nature

I am very fortunate to live in the picturesque town of Stellenbosch and I feel as If I don’t appreciate the beauty of its natural surroundings enough. Be it a gentle stroll down the oak-lined streets, among the fynbos in Jan Marais Park, or a hike up Stellenbosch mountain or in the Jonkershoek valley, immersing myself in the joys of nature is a great way to let my mind wander and inspire creativity.

How do you add creativity to your life? I’d like to know. Feel free to share in the comment section below.

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