Even so-called 'creative types' can find creativity difficult! 10 months ago, Melinda Nass found herself in a creative rut. Rather than remain in a slump, she set herself a challenge to do something creative every day for one year, and as a result, has found inspiration in all kinds of places.
The wonderful thing about getting creative is that everyone can do it, even if you are just bringing it back to basics
I’ve worked and studied in the creative industry for as long as I can remember, so I’ve obviously always had a knack for creating, but last year I found myself in a colossal creativity rut. Everything seemed mundane, and I was plagiarising my work over and over. Being creative had lost its fun.
Most sane people would take this opportunity to give themselves a break and go to Bali, or some sort of holiday with shiny sun rays, colourful drinks, and beaches with technicolour fish. Instead, I decided the best way to kick my creative juices back into gear would be to take the idea of ‘being creative’ into overdrive and push myself to an overwhelming limit. I took on the challenge of creating something, one new thing, every day for a year. Within 20 minutes I had made an Instagram account, named it 365.icreate, and I was officially locked in, in front of an audience. Shit.
How I began
I started out small. A quirky card for a friend, a baking endeavour, playing around with Artline pens and re- vamping my grubby converse shoes, but as I ran out of ideas, looking for other inspiration drove my determination to create. My creative tasks now range from drawings, to wedding invites, to hairstyling, to gardens, to teaching classes, or some other idea that has been suggested to me somewhere within the flood of emails I received.
Anyone can do it
The wonderful thing about getting creative is that everyone can do it, even if you are just bringing it back to basics. Find some mod podge (a very strong arts and crafts glue) and use it to stick doilies to bottles, turn an old teapot into a pot plant, or wrap some old textbooks in newspaper! Art is what you want it to be. Just make sure you don’t limit yourself: try something new and you might discover skills you didn’t know you had.
For example, I classify myself as a painter and drawer and yet my favourite moment in my project was when my brother asked me if I wanted to make a vegie patch with him. We’re both at the shallow end of the gene pool when it comes to carpentry, so when he turned up one Sunday morning with a saw, nails and hammer in hand, I questioned whether we would have any success at all. Amazingly, using an old wooden pallet we were able to create a space for a flourishing garden, complete with a gnome and everything. It was made with 100% recycled material for just $32.50 and in just 4 hours of our time. Who would’ve thought I have a green thumb? I now garden on a regular basis, although my expertise falls short as I continuously forget the names of each plant and resort to naming them after my favourite singers instead.
Back to basics
Some of the greatest creations are the simplest ones. One of my proudest moments was one morning when I decided to turn my breakfast into the shape of a fish! It took five minutes, a piece of cold toast and some profanities from my dad, but the whimsical childhood idea that food should be fun kept me smiling for the rest of the week. I still smile when I see that photo and think of the fun that I had playing with my food.
Remember that even your setbacks can become inspirations for creativity. For a while I had some old terracotta pots that remained half-completed as I couldn’t paint the line perfectly straight. I eventually smashed them in a fit of frustration but then realized I could piece them randomly together to create beautiful mosaics!
Finding what inspires you and makes your mind buzz can be an exasperating task, but I’ve found it amazingly rewarding. Sometimes it feels like routine forces us into a box and it can be difficult to find a place for the creative process within it. I’ve learnt there are a million ways to practice creativity in everyday life, so just try to make a little room for it in your day and you‘ll be surprised by the sense of accomplishment and pride that it inspires in you.