Sunday, 7 February 2016

Developing your creativity

In this current age, creativity is prized as a key skill. Employers want employees to have it and be able to use it. However in the educational landscape of the UK at the moment the subjects that develop creativity and being sidelined and seen as less important. Schools are dropping performing and visual arts at a horrific rate.
Q: So what is creativity? 
A:      1) The ability to form new ideas and solutions to problems.
           2) To make original work.
Many people just don’t believe that they are creative. All are creative, but we may be creative in different ways. Some are creative in thought and some in making. Creativity, if it is going to flourish should be fostered and developed. There are ways we can boost our creativity and there are barriers to its development.
As an artist, I have faced many barriers to developing my creativity and I still don’t always get it right but I’m getting there. Let me share some of the things I need to watch out for and some of the things I find helpful in boosting my creative development.

1.     Self Doubt – This is the killer of creativity. That little voice that says you are just not good enough. I used to believe this, and then I decided to create things anyway, whether they were good or bad, what I found was that as I became more confident my work became better.
2.     Opinions of Others – This is a tricky one. As Humans we value what other people think and in certain circumstances we need our work validated by others, but this should not be the driver to what we do. Create it anyway and if someone likes it – great. If not just create for yourself.
3.     Taught linear thinking – It’s very easy to get into a linear process when making. Just working towards the final outcome. I know that when I have a very specific idea about what I want the final outcome to be – I always struggle with creating it. Instead – enjoy the journey.
4.     Time – As I work full time, finding time to create is always a challenge. However, I try to use my creativity in everything I do. It makes my job more creative and enjoyable too.
5.     Opportunity – Sometimes we miss opportunities to be creative because we are looking for a particular solution to a problem, rather than looking for alternatives.
6.     Rules – Sometimes they are there to be broken!

1.     Plan time – I will set time aside to work on my designing and creating. It’s not as much as I’d like, but it’s a start, and it does mean at some times I say no to the myriad of other things that need my time. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day!
2.     Collect, pinch, appropriate – become a magpie, collect things that inspire you, poems, images, items, photographs, keep them! Either physically or virtually. I love Pinterest to help with this.
3.     Explore and experiment – Break those rules. Try something new. A new technique, media. A new theme? Get some training, go on courses and apply what you learn to what you already know.
4.     Collaborate and ask questions – Work with others, learn from others, share with others, join a group, collaborate – all the time ask, “What would happen if…?”
5.     Shower Moments – Keep a notebook. We all have those light bulb moments, usually when in the shower, driving, drifting off to sleep. Keep something to hand to scribble or record your thoughts at those moments.
6.     Don’t be precious – don’t be afraid to push your ideas, take it further. It’s when we push it that new ideas develop and we get out of our comfort zone. This requires courage and resilience as it’s in this place that we allow ourselves to “fail”, for things to go wrong – this can force us to look for new or alternative solutions rather than the safe ones.
Write, think, draw, paint, make, decorate, act, sing, make music, design, engineer, teach, learn. How do you create?


  1. Great post Claire. I need to practice most of these. I think of great ideas when walking my dog. When I've got home, them ideas have gone :( Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays

    1. I use my phone to quickly record my ideas - either using the notes or I make a quick audio using my camera.

  2. Ummm, I think I do all those aside from engineering. I am a creating maniac!
    Great point about linear thinking. One I need to work on, being a goal oriented person.
    When I can relax a bit the process is always more playful and the old critic gets less of a say!
    I found you through Creative Mondays.
    Jazzy Jack

    1. I can sooo relate to your comment. I used to be goal orineted too.

  3. Really interesting and useful post.

    As a child, so much of creativity is based on artwork, which I was terrible at (we're talking painting and drawing). But I'm musical, I dance, and I can make jewellery and have done a lot of card making in the past. People always said to me with the cards - you're really creative. I don't think I've ever been particularly artistic, but by taking other pieces, varying them, changing the bits I do and don't like to make my own, I can do it. I have an eye for putting colours and shapes together, and what makes good composition so that helps.

    I think so much is practice and just letting things flow. As a child I was probably more uptight and cared what people think. Now I'm so much more confident and relaxed and enjoy what I choose to do. That means you can be a lot more free and creative in your own way.


    1. Emma - you're dead right! my husband would be the first to admit that he can't paint or draw, but he has such an eye for shape and his photographs can be amazing, he's also musically creative. Creativity is not just evident in the arts it can be in any area of life!

  4. Driving. Those moments always happen when I'm driving, and can't do a thing about it! #PoCoLo

    1. I Hear you. I have been known to pull over so I can jot something down. or I repeat it to myself until my journey is finished!

  5. I would like to think of myself as creative! I cant drive because when I travel that is when the ideas starts pouring in. I am a commuter because of this. This is such an amazing read as lately I am not doing anything creative and its making me stressed and depress. I am slowly going back by taking photos. I hope I can go back to my old self. Thanks for this! #pocolo

    1. Start small - don't put any pressure on yourself, just do what you can when you can! I don know what you mean though. I get incredibly frustrated when I don't make anything for a while. I become a bit of a headcase.

  6. I love this and I totally agree that self doubt is the killer of creativity, so often I've killed an idea because I didn't think I could do it justice. Great tips though, I'll keep these in mind the next time I'm trying to be creative. xx Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo

  7. I find some of my better work starts as a piece I'm dissatisfied with. When it gets to that stage I decide - I don't like it, I can't spoil it, so what the hell, try something crazy/new/different. Surprising how often it turns into something I love :-) Patricia Lane

  8. Great post - I went on a visual thinking course at work a while back. At the start we were encouraged to draw to which we all looked at each other and laughingly said we can't draw, each fearing looking silly in front of our colleagues. The instructor had clearly anticipated this and asked us if 5 year olds could draw. We all readily agreed, and then he asked us if we were once five. And if so we could draw. Now that got us and he was right we could all draw! Thanks for linking up to #PoCoLo


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