The remarkable breadth and richness of creative influences in the world around us continually amaze me, be it the pleasure (or the pain) derived from a single sensory experience, hearing other peoples’ stories, appreciating the work of other creatives or receiving creative ideas or advice from others, or many other possibilities.
Consequently, the theme for my blog posts for this year will revolve around what we can learn from the world around us and the characters within it, what inspires or heightens our creativity and how we can harness these influences.
When I start to think about by the magnitude of trying to take on board everything around me, I nearly hyperventilate, overwhelmed by possibility. But appreciation of the stimuli around us is not about generating creative overload! It is about honing our creative receptivity to help us make the most of the wonderful opportunities that surround us.
I have written before about the link between mindfulness and creativity. Experiencing the world mindfully and observing how it influences us is extraordinarily valuable. How can we write it, draw it, paint it, photograph it, sing it, dance it or in other way create it, if we live in a vacuum? While we creatives can be reclusive, experiencing life and translating that, directly or indirectly, to a creative form is valuable fuel for the creative fire.
And for many of us, creativity is intricately interwoven with wellness. I have summarised the evidence on the intersection between health and creativity a couple of years ago and have written about my personal experience of the healing power of creativity. I am especially excited to see increasing attention and research in this area. For example, Dr Christina Davies and her team at the University of Western Australia have recently shown that just two hours a week of arts engagement enhances mental wellness . I have no doubt that further research will continue to demonstrate health benefits from creativity for both mental and physical health.
The time I devote to my creativity takes time away from doctoring, mothering, family and friends, and at times, I do feel guilty about that. But I am convinced that I am a healthier, happier and more balanced person, doctor, mother, wife, relative and friend for allowing myself to also be my creative self. If I am not, who would know? I am who I am.
If you’d like to join me as I explore these issues further this year, please sign up to follow by email (your email address will be kept private and will not be spammed). You can also follow me on Twitter (@JacquieGS) and Facebook.
In the meantime, I’d love you to think about and, if you feel so inclined, to share in the comments:
- What do you think are your most powerful creative influences and how do you learn from them?
- Are there creative inputs you may be overlooking and could be harnessing better?
Thanks for reading this post! Some of my other posts include:
- When push comes to shove – juggling priorities in a time-poor world
- The power of naming procrastination and
- Is excitement a new strategy for writers?
With best wishes for your creative health and that of our community.
© 2016 Jacquie Garton-Smith
I think the greatest influences for me are personal experiences. The greatest challenge now is for me to become thoughtful in how I articulate those. Intention and motivation are also important.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Personal experiences are a powerful and often unique influence and creativity can help us process those experiences as well. I’d love to know more about the role of motivation and intention from your perspective.
Thanks for this post, Jac. I call it ‘fallow time’, that time when our minds are resting. But because they’re minds, they never really rest—they’re still ticking over—and when we’re quiet, we hear what they’ve got to say, those important things that come from deep within, not just the urgent day-to-day.
So true Louise – we must be in sync because my notes for a future post make a point about needing time to let things lay fallow – and like the paddock that needs to replenish, so do our minds. Maybe school holidays are perfect times for parents to devote to creative replenishment!
Great post, Jacquie. When I was suffering from (undiagnosed) PTSD, creative pursuits kept me on an even keel.
Instinct told me to read, journal & spend time in nature. I read somewhere that ‘creation heals destruction’ and I definitely found that to be the case.
We all need our creative time! I look forward to reading your future posts!
Thanks so much Louise. Sharing stories and experiences is so powerful. I love the phrase ‘creation heals destruction’ – I have never heard that before and will look it up.
It is important that you have flagged spending time with nature in your list too – appreciating natural creations is a great source of inspiration, wonder and healing, plus often combined with some exercise which never hurts!
so wonderful (and much much better than hyperventilation) your work and posts are a breathe of fresh air … thank you
What lovely feedback, Jolie! You have absolutely made my day! x