Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Is 'be more creative' one of your resolutions? Five ways to ensure you keep that promise


I wrote this blog post for the London Jewellery School and I'm pleased with it as it brings together my psychology background and my jewellery business. You can read the original post on the LJS blog here

When a new year comes around many of us like to see it as a lovely blank page; a clean slate. We look to the new year for a fresh start, a new way of being. Most of our readers are creative in some capacity so it’s not a huge leap to think that you might be resolving to have more creativity in your life. So here is some advice about how to do it and make it stick.

  1. Call it a goal, not a resolution
The words we use with ourselves (and others) are really powerful and the idea of a ‘new years resolution’ is almost impossible to keep. If your resolution is to be more creative, what happens if by the end of January you feel you’ve done nothing towards that? You feel despondent. You berate yourself. You give up on that resolution. So let’s not set ourselves up to fail. Call it a goal. A goal is something to aim towards, it’s not something that can be broken. Yes, some days we are more creative and other days life gets in the way of our best intentions but we still have the goal in the back of our mind. It’s still there reminding us of what is important.



  1. The first ten minutes of every day
Do you procrastinate? Stupid question I know! We all do. One of my recommendations if this is a real problem for you is to read ‘Get it Done’ by Sam Bennett of the Organised Artist Company. It is full of real, achievable advice for artists. One of the pieces of advice that I love from her is to spend the first ten minutes of your day doing some creative work. Before you do anything else. Before you check your email.
Ten minutes is a small amount of time. It will probably sound too small to really get anything done. And yet you’d be surprised.
She recommends writing out ten minute tasks you can achieve in a project. For me (as a metal clay artist) this could be

  • do ten minutes of research into the theme I’m currently working on
  • spend the time sketching and refining a design
  • use the ten minutes to order the supplies I need online
  • try out some textures with polymer clay and choose the texture I want to use
  • make a piece in silver clay and leave it aside to dry
  • file a piece I made yesterday
  • shape some earring wires

That kind of thing. Then you get up and spend the first ten minutes of the day doing one of those things (I recommend choosing your task the day before).
This works for a number of reasons. The first is that ten minutes is not a lot of time. Set a timer if you want to. Secondly, whatever happens with the rest of the day you have done your minimum. There is a real psychological benefit to this that you will notice when you try it. Thirdly, getting up ten minutes earlier to get something done is not as off-putting as having some lofty goal to meditate at 5am. It feels do-able. And it is.

  1. Always carry a notebook/sketchbook
Have you noticed that inspiration can strike at any moment? It normally happens when you are busy doing something other than being creative. I always have a little un-lined notebook and pen with me in case an idea flies by and I need to catch it. Just having it in my bag makes me feel like a creative person.

  1. Learn something new
I am a real advocate of this. I love going to classes. I went to one on digital fabric printing just this week. I want to use the fabric I’ve printed in some way in my jewellery (I haven’t figured out how yet). The how isn’t the point. Learning something new always gives you a different perspective on things. Whether you want to try life drawing, singing, or learn a different jewellery making technique - it can only add to your creative ideas.

  1. Compare yourself with yourself
There’s nothing that kills creativity quite so much as comparison. It is now so fabulously easy to look at the jewellery made by people all around the world via the power of the internet. And it is easy to be intimidated; to think ‘I could never think of that’, ‘I could never be as good as that’.
You are you. Wherever you are on your creative journey there is no one that can think and create quite like you. So just keep doing it. You never know, someone might be thinking exactly the same thing about your work.

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