Creativity needs attention

Creativity is worth millions. Business craves it. Writers dream about it. Creatives rely on it.

So why do we think creativity is an endless well that never runs dry?

When’s the last time you took your creativity out to play?

I spend my life staring at a screen. If I’m not writing content I am creating strategies, developing proposals and discussing KPIs. This is a business bid I am working on today for example:

  1. Support in shaping a marketing strategy. Ensure it delivers the correct key messages through the appropriate channels.
  2. Create a marketing plan to include setting key aims and objectives / KPIs; customer profiling, segmentation and mapping; developing key messages, benefits and USP; brand development; tone, language and appearance.
  3. Develop branding that reflects overall project aims and objectives, target market and key marketing messages to be used in marketing activities.
  4. Work through a Digital marketing plan to include the development of content for a website and social media campaigns.

These all require highly creative ideas on every level.  However, we all know the marketing world is hellish noisy. If you don’t shape messaging that hits the spot it fails. What grabs your attention?  Therefore, think hard: what makes you stop and look again? It’s always creativity that underpins every action whether we realise or not. Creativity and criticism actually go hand in hand too, although they sometimes do feel like strange bedfellows.

So back to my original question: when’s the last time you nurtured your creativity?

In fact, while you are reading this then why not look at these questions too

  1. When is the last time you took time to sit and think without any distraction?
  2. How often do you take time to practice your writing, drawing, photography skills?
  3. Can you remember when you last concentrated fully on one thing?
  4. Have you walked for no reason today?
  5. Is the last time you sploshed paint about or completed a sketch beyond memory?
  6. Are you afraid that you’ll run out of ideas, energy and creativity?
  7. What can you today that will help you add fuel to your creative fire?

Any machine needs maintenance, care, attention, spare parts and fuel

So what makes us all think we can continue without any of those things? It’s so easy to say there is no time. Anyone that exercises will say there is time if your life choices become a priority. My life is full. I sometimes can’t hold onto a thought for more than a millisecond as others flood in and wash it away. I am typical of marketers who are constantly juggling emails, texts, phone calls, social media, meetings  and countless other distractions. Some days I wonder if I haven’t simply forgotten how to think.

Is there a solution to creativity droughts?

Yes, I really do believe there is. Essentially I am a writer. Scratch away the company director, agency lead, marketing professional patina and you will discover a writer. My real interest is poetry. I have never been so far away from that interest. I studied an MA in Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University and worked with the very best names in contemporary poetry. The skills I soaked up have enabled me to craft short form content easily. Clients return time and again for content strategy and the pieces that go with it. So why do I ignore the thing that fuels my skill? Beats me. I am sure I’m not the only one who is experiencing the same behaviour. So let me tell you what I’ve done to save my creativity.

I made the decision to invest in my creativity

I live in a typical Victorian style house with a small backyard. In that yard was a very forlorn shed that might well have been the coal shed back in the day. It was dark, had an earth floor and was painted a very old fashioned blue. Nothing about it made me stay there any longer than it took to shove my bike through the door. I gave it very little thought, apart from curse as I tried to get to the back of it to reach the garden tools. It was only when I added a door to replace a window in the dining room that I was left with a spare window frame. I made a decision that to save the window from the tip I would fit it in the shed. Everyone said I was crazy. That’s fine, I am used to that.

Develop a plan to protect and nurture what matters

The builders arrived and once the window was fitted possibilities began to evolve. Scaffold boards were bought and the walls were clad. I used two boards to create a desk, bought a stool and then started to fill it with the things that help me to acknowledge that my creativity is what keeps me alive. I now have a writing space, beach hut, potting shed, call it what you will. Every morning at around 5.30 I pad out to the space and write. I have written almost 100 sides by hand since the 9th July. I have discovered so much about myself. Meanwhile work moves on apace but I start each day knowing I have been faithful to my own artist child who has been screaming for attention. However there are always workplace hacks to utilise when you get desperate!

You don’t need to be rich and you don’t need a palace to create space for creativity

To begin find somewhere that lends itself to being a retreat for your creativity.

Look in the garden (if you have one) Investigate a corner of a room.

Add a table somewhere that’s yours and create it in such a way that you want to sit at it

Find a spot by a window or a dark corner, whatever suits.

Gather all the things that matter, things that prompt creative thoughts. I shan’t suggest anything as it’s down to you but if you look at the images on this blog you’ll see what matters to me.

Buy paper, pens, pencils, inks, notebooks, drawinf pads, whatever you need. You don;t have to spend much. Go out and treat yourself and say, ‘hey I matter and I need to nurture my creativity starting now.

Then  let me know how you get on.

My attention to my creative life has paid dividends

Finally, since returning to my daily writing practice I have started a number of creative collaborations. We are planning to use some of my office spaces in Cornwall, UK to start the Norther Creative Community. We are running confidence courses and creative courses are being drafted as I write. An art course entitled ‘The Fine Art of Fine Detail Painting will be starting in the autumn and this is just the beginning.

By starting creatively first thing in the morning I am sustained for all the KPIs and ROIs I will deal with through the day.  To conclude, please ask yourself: what do you do to sustain your creative life? I’d love to know and am happy to accept guest posts on the subject.

My new book: Creativity: Create, Work, Earn is due out at the end of September do subscribe to be the first to know when it is published and receive a  25% discount on the cover price.

If you need some help try these books, they are always near me and come highly recommended

  1. Julia Cameron The Artist’s Way
  2. Suzanne Clough Visual Medicine The Art of the Unknown
  3. Angie Dixon How to Stop Being “Normal” and Start Being Who You Really Are
  4. Natalie Goldberg Wild Mind Living the Writer’s Life
  5. Austin Kleon Steal like an artist
  6. Vivienne Neale Set Up Your Own Writing Retreat In Your Head
  7. Twyla Tharp The Creative Habit Learn It and Use It For Life
Write a comment