Now there’s a deadline to end of the lockdown this might be your last chance to get your creativity flowing. Here are 9 ideas to help you start.
Charles Dickens would write from 9am to 2pm and then go for a walk. JK Rowling wrote mountains of notes about her planned seven Harry Potter books before completing the novels in longhand. PG Wodehouse could write 10,000 words a day.
Picasso? 13,500 paintings and designs. Mozart composed over 600 works in his short life. Prince played all 27 instruments on his debut album For You.
The majority of Brits believe they have a creative flair – but it just falls by the wayside. Some 63% have let their talent die, according to a study.
And the reason? The usual suspects.
Social media. Internet. Catching up on TV and films, playing games. Family. Some 85% admit it is simply easier to switch on phones and computers, than to pick up a pen and paper.
Last chance lockdown
Researchers took a look into the nation’s creative talents, aspirations and regrets – and revealed one in five British adults, over the age of 30, have abandoned a flair they have for something creative.
Before Covid-19 and the lockdown, busy lives emerged as one of the main excuses for not pursuing creative talents (26%).
Family commitments were also hailed as a reason for a lack of creative drive in 20% of adults, researchers for the study, commissioned by pen maker Bic, discovered.
Now there’s a deadline for our lockdown lives, this might be the last chance you have revive your creativity before normal distractions fill your days.
Creativity in the classroom
For many, the high spot in people’s creative lives were their school years. A quarter of British adults said as a youngster they had a flair for writing stories and 17% said they excelled at drama and dancing. Something like a fifth said they used to be able to play a musical instrument or possessed a great singing voice.
The survey revealed that for the typical Brit, our creativity hit its peak at age 17 – and it prompted nearly a third of youngsters to try their hands at career that cultivated their talent.
Bic’s Joanna Hollins said: “It’s a shame that so many adults who harboured talents as youngsters haven’t pursued them in to adulthood.
“If you genuinely have a gift for writing songs or stories, drawing or playing an instrument, it should be encouraged.”
So what can you do?
9 ways to grab back your creativity
- Control your distractions. Critic Cyril Connolly once said that “the pram in the hall is the enemy of promise”. Now it’s the phone in the pocket. Find your ways to wean yourself off the device. Start with an hour a day and see what you can achieve. In that time, write a letter, draw a picture, make a note, make a start.
- Practice dreaming. Creativity doesn’t require a genius IQ or a textbook or a eureka moment in the bath tub. Sometimes one thing leads to another and then another. If you can dream it, you can do it, as Walt Disney said.
- Bounce ideas around. If you’re feeling stale or stuck. If you have an idea that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. If you want to take up painting but need lots and lots of encouragement – that’s when like-minded other people come in, feeding your enthusiasm and carrying you through the barren times. Plenty of support groups have been set up during the pandemic for exactly this purpose.
- Seek out inspiration. Read a book or magazine. Watch a wildlife documentary. Being inspired and fired up by something you read or see can help you in a totally unconnected area of your life. You might end up watching an ant’s nest and get hit by a brilliant idea for a story. Or you might hear a passage of music that touches emotions you want to capture in oils. It’s all related.
- Have a play. Keep pens and paper around at all times. Maybe some modelling clay. And a pair of scissors for collages. If you have children, dig into their toy boxes and release those childhood memories of unfettered and outlandish stories. See where it takes you.
- Be concise. At some point, the giant sprawl of ideas in your head needs to become something practical. Those scraps of paper full of plot points need to be coherent. That “I should” needs to become an “I will”. When the free thinking is done, pitch the idea – if only to yourself in the mirror. That way you will have a handle on what it is you want to achieve.
- Make it happen. Creative flair dies in a vacuum. It needs attention and it needs time. In 1911 Mary Heaton Vorse gave this piece of advice to a young writer, rarely bettered. “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” Don’t spend your life talking about what you’re about to do. At worst, you won’t do anything, at best, you’ll scare yourself stupid. As Ernest Hemingway said: “The shortest answer is doing the thing.”
- You either want it, or you don’t. If you do, make time. It’s simply not going to happen if you wait for “the right time” or a “break in your schedule” or “at the weekend” or “when the kids go to school”. You have to elbow creativity into your schedule because it won’t get there by chance. But, remember, while it is an act of will, you also can’t force yourself to go to places you simply don’t want to go. If it’s not happening, take a break. But a short break.
- Set yourself a deadline. Yes, most of us have until June 21 before all the lockdown restrictions are lifted. That’s a little under four months. Plenty of time to turn an idea into a habit and a habit into a piece of work. Use the deadline to inspire and stimulate you. Imagine emerging from the lockdown cocoon telling your friends face-to-face – I did this. Use the prospect of that feeling of satisfaction to drive you.