Guess what. Humans are creative. That means that if you identify as human, then you are creative too.
Sometimes we may not feel that way. Sometimes our ideas might get stuck, or we might feel overwhelmed, or we may feel the pressure of going round and round in circles through repetitive systems. But even though the mechanisms of daily life can sometimes interrupt our creativity, it is still there. Like a curious child at night with a hand over the light of a torch trying to conceal the beam, we each have a creative light inside that sometimes bursts forth, and if we can allow ourselves to release that brilliance, we can confidently explore the path ahead.
In the past two years, it feels as though we have had some time to reflect on our own creativity, and its connection to our sense of self, our own wellness, and the ways that we both connect with, and understand, the world around us. For some people, this time has sparked a renaissance in their own creativity. For others, they have felt more disconnected because their joy is sparked by connection with others and sharing space, sound, and creativity in collective experiences. Or perhaps they didn’t know where to find the tools to unlock their own innate creativity.
As we have been enjoying World Creativity and Innovation Week, a celebration of all forms of creativity, this seemed like a good opportunity for us to take a moment to reflect on our creative world. The world we are all living in. Everything around us is a product of creative minds thinking differently. Creative minds telling stories, inspiring change, reimagining the future. When we can find creativity in our own lives, we can find those moments of inquisitive curiosity, moments of freedom, moments of reflection, and moments of connection.
Regularly and purposefully engaging your creative mind is an opportunity to reset the way we think. To be open to possibilities and to change the world (and your place within it) piece by piece. At Creative Waikato we think that a great way to strengthen those creative muscles, and to empower your own personal wellspring of creativity, is to build some arts, culture and creative practice in your daily life.
Perhaps you’re wondering, “How can I do that?”
But then in the same breath you might say: “I’m too busy”, or “I’m not creative”, or perhaps “but I can’t sing/dance/draw/etc” – these are all limiting beliefs. These things can all be addressed. It is important to remember that there is a huge difference between taking part in a creative activity because it brings you pleasure or adds value to your time, and being a “professional artist”. In the same way that you can go for a jog around the park without the desire to be an Olympic athlete, you can be a creative human without being a ‘pro artist’. Your artistic hobby doesn’t have to become a side hustle. It can just be fun. It can just be for you.
So, now we’ve set the intention to have creativity in our lives every day, here are few things that you might be able to build into your life in the next week:
- Celebrate being a beginner
What is that one thing you always wanted to do but didn’t? Give that a go. Being an amateur is fun. It triggers different neural pathways. There’s freedom in being an amateur. There are more possibilities with fewer expectations. Learn an instrument. Take up watercolour painting. Learn to sew. Join a dance class. It is never too late.
- Put creative play time in your calendar each day
Remember how we used to have “playtime” – a time to refresh the brain, to do something completely different, to invent new games, or create new stories. That is a great thing to do. Try to schedule a 10min play break each day, and give yourself a short task. Do some free doodling in a notebook. Write a four line poem. Learn a tiktok dance. Get a colleague to scribble on a piece of paper and then draw a picture around the scribble. Keep some lego bricks on your desk and make something different each day. The possibilities are huge. But do it everyday, and put it in your calendar so it becomes a priority.
- Change your daily routine
This might throw you off a little, but it also might help you to look at the day through fresh eyes. Take a different walk to work. Get up and instead of reaching for a phone, read a whakatauki or listen to a new waiata. Go to Thingstodo.events on the first week of the month, and attend the 3rd and 7th event on the list. Or perhaps, on the weekend go to a new place and explore, or go to a familiar place and try to find 5 new things you haven’t noticed before.
- Say “what if”
If we allow things to be free for a moment, and to embrace imperfection, we might find new connections between ideas. Engage in a process of “what if” – some entertaining thought experiments. This might be things like: “What if we each grew 1 foot taller overnight?”, “What if cars were never invented?”, “What if all food was soup?”. Or perhaps more practically, “what if I painted a picture with a spatula” or “what if I could only use one vowel when writing a poem”. This can be a great activity with kids, or with other inquisitive grown ups (I can recall many hours spent in this type of activity whilst on tour with a band). It encourages a freedom of thought, and to shut down the critical mind for a few moments and float around in unrestrained possibility.
- Give yourself permission
You can do it. You can embrace the creativity within. The impact of a positive approach to an activity is severely underrated. Mary Poppins wasn’t lying when she said “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”. It may feel unusual, or uncertain in the beginning, but give your imagination space to play. Let yourself move down different creative paths. It may take time, it may go to a range of different places, but give yourself permission to embark on that journey. You may need to try many different things. Creativity can take many forms. If painting doesn’t work, try music, or literature, or tech, or sculpture, or any other wild and imaginative form that creativity can manifest in. Different approaches connect to different people – but we each need to crack our own creativity code. Listen to that creative impulse that lies within all of us, and give yourself permission to bring that voice out.
There are many different paths. There are things you can do at home. There are things you can do in the community. They could be individual activities, or part of a collective experience. Each option has value. Each option might have the spark that inspires your own creativity. We just have to take the first step.
If you want to talk to someone about pathways for creativity in the Waikato, check out our social media, or contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org