It’s no secret that I am a huge believer in the power and value of creativity to enhance our lives. This can take any form – it’s simply doing something which you love and which makes your heart sing.
Q: what is creativity?
A: the relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
At the start of a workshop recently, attendees were asked to introduce themselves – you know, that initial ‘creeping death’ exercise – to include something about ourselves that we felt other people should know. I found myself saying that being creative every day was one of the most important aspects of my life, to the extent that an absence of creativity causes detriment to my health and wellbeing.
Cue a rather uncomfortable tumbleweed moment, as the other participants looked at me blankly. Admittedly, this was a somewhat unusual thing to say in the context of a business meeting about strategic planning. In fact, it even came as a surprise to me to find out that this is how I felt. And yet, as I was speaking, I could feel in my bones the compelling truth of my words.
I consider myself to be very fortunate that I have the time and mental energy to make things on a regular basis. I have written plenty of times on this blog about my knitting and crochet projects, baking escapades, photography etc. But it occurred to me that I don’t actively prioritise being creative as an essential part of how I use my time.
A couple of days ago, I was on a train to Glasgow for a meeting. Whereas I would usually be checking e-mails, ticking stuff off my to do list etc, I chose instead to make some art. I had been reading a book about the Scottish artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh over the weekend – this year marks the 150th anniversary of his birth – and decided on the spur of the moment to close the inbox and doodle some CRM-esque roses:
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed working on this sketch, for which I used the Procreate Pocket app on my phone and a stylus. Just 30 minutes of this activity gave me a zing in my heart and a spring in my step for the rest of the day.
Developing a regular sketching habit has been on my list of ‘things I really want to achieve’ for far too long now. So I have decided to have a go at the ‘100 day project’ challenge. This is where you commit to doing something small each day for, yes, 100 days in a row. It can be absolutely anything – I have seen examples of people doing yoga, taking a photograph, publishing a favourite quote. You get the idea. In my case, I will be publishing a digital doodle on Instagram each day. Here’s the first one:
Sitting here at my desk, I can hear a wide range of different birdsong – goldfinches, great tits, chaffinches – but what stands out are the swoops of the swifts’ rasping screech – a wonderfully iconic sound at this time of year.
I wondered whether it was wise to write about this project at the start, or whether it would be better to discuss it at the end, once I could say I had actually done it. I decided that sharing the experiment as I went along might be more interesting. Who knows, in a few weeks’ time, I might be writing about how difficult it was to maintain. But let’s not be too negative. I am actually expecting to be writing about all the very positive and joyous results of finally embracing a habit which has long been my wish to develop. We’ll see! 🙂