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Say ‘Hello’ to Creativity

Unlock your creativity with this simple exercise and top tips 

Whether you're a seasoned crafter, or just getting started with making, it can sometimes be hard to get motivated to start, keep going or complete creative projects!

In just five minutes, try out this simple beginner’s exercise to unlocking your creativity and gain top tips from Michael Avatar, a creativity consultant and author of Build + Become’s Being Creative.

Getting started

Creativity is a powerful thing. It can spark bright ideas, guide you through the tricky stages of development, and help you transform concepts into reality.

Michael Avatar says: 
"To help me address the anxiety of starting, I often return to the idea that 'everything is beginning'. You begin every day, every moment. You begin when you breathe, when you inhale and exhale. In beginner’s mind there is possibility, openness, curiosity: all qualities that are useful for an exploration of creativity. When I remember this simple fact, I return to materiality, to the page and realise it’s just words on the blank paper; not finished thoughts, not polished rhetoric; just beginning with what I have with me right now.  We all feel blocked - it’s a normal condition of creativity. Everyone feels that they are dealing with difficulty – it’s part of the to and fro of being creative. If you are stuck with your creativity, try the following exercise to get you kick started again." 


A beginner's exercise to finding your creative flow

Take a deep breath.

As you exhale slowly write or draw on the page, not in fixed ways, but uncontrolled, fluid.

Note down words, adjectives, colours, feelings. Write until you reach the point when you need to take an in breath.

I suggest that you notice and reflect on something small, using the obvious facts of what is close to you:

  • The view from a window
  • Your shadow
  • A mark on a wall
  • The dimensions of a room
  • Anything that’s around

You start by noticing. Then look back – what did you discover?

Don’t worry if you can’t make sense of what you have written (this is often our fear; that it has to be something straightaway).

The main thing is that you have begun. Congratulations!

This is an important part of beginning – sometimes we don’t succeed because we begin with an agenda that is too vast, too enormous. The scale of the project is too big.

Why does this exercise work?

It succeeds because it limit your output to something small and achievable – your breath. It doesn’t overwhelm you with too much material; it is eminently do-able.

In my philosophy, noticing and creativity are synonymous.

Top tips to unlocking your creative potential

01.
Beginning is every day – you are beginning with every page, each project. That doesn’t always mean fear; beginning can also be curiosity, enterprise, play or anticipation. Beginning is also a quality inside you, malleable, plastic – use what’s around you, on the street, to activate this feeling. In this way, you won’t feel alone. Beginning is objects, is everything, is the world.

02.

You don’t need a lot of material to have an idea – your manipulation of small processes that will lead to revelation. Emblematic of this approach is the A6 page, a reduced format that encourages you to write, to create. Step into this page, as if through a new window.

03.
Creativity = doing. Action is the only way to move into something new. If you don’t physicalise an idea, it will never change. You will remain in the conceptual, only staying with graph paper ideas. A commitment to doing will provoke a change in your creative process. If you record the incidental, the passing flux with real enthusiasm, you will place yourself right in the vortex of creativity.

04.
Action necessarily involves experiment. That can provoke failure, but don’t worry – failure and success are normal components of creative life. There is no creativity without appropriate failure.The normal process of every 24 hours contains the explicit language of being creative – success, boredom, wrong turns, mistakes, minor triumphs. Creativity often feels like a cul-de-sac. Keep going.

05.
Noticing is an active key; once you see what’s around you, once you become aware, you can consciously step forward into the creative.




Learn more about Being Creative

Being Creative, written by Michael Avatar and published by Quarto Knows.

Part of the Build+Become series, Being Creative sets out five major areas: beginning, process, persistence, methodology and ending. The book provides simple exercises and practical tool kits, to help you introduce and harness creativity within your everyday life.

Discover the Build + Become series

BUILD+BECOME is a carefully curated series of books that takes one area of modern living and breaks it down into a series of 20 accessible but thought-provoking lessons, so readers can build and apply knowledge to their day-to-day lives.

www.buildbecome.com | @buildbecome 

Available to buy now from all good book retailers and online.

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