Thursday, 31 July 2008
About One Creative Thing
I discovered Julia Cameron’s creativity books (The Artist’s Way and, more recently, Walking in This World) in 2006. I’ve gained a lot from these books, and heartily recommend them to anyone who is struggling with their creativity, or who would like to “be creative” but doesn’t know how, but the most important thing I’ve learnt so far is that while one feels a need to express one’s creativity, it’s not always necessary to make what Cameron calls “Art with a capital A”. Sometimes small-a art is enough to get you through – amateur artmaking is just as good for the soul as professional, and sometimes better to a despairing mood than battling to write a masterpiece. To read a poem can lift the spirit more than trying to write the Great Australian Novel, and sometimes just buying a book or some origami paper can help to spark something and get back to the capital-A Art.
Cameron’s books include a lot of exercises for the struggling creative, and I’m not entirely sure whether this is her idea I’m working on here or one that I’ve come to from reading her books and thinking this way for so long. But at any rate – hers or mine, I think it’s a reasonable sort of an idea and intend to give it a go. I call it
One Creative Thing
and the idea is that if I do one creative thing every day, be that writing fabulous music, drawing a dodgy picture of my teddy bear, baking a batch of muffins or borrowing a book of poetry from the library, then my capital-A Art will be the better for it. And if all I feel capable of on a given day is the borrowing of the book of poetry from the library, then perhaps I’ll feel more capable of the fabulous music the next day.
So to that end, I’m once again using the internet to hold myself accountable for a hare-brained scheme. At the time I first set up OCT, I had just returned to full-time work and after just two days of being back in the workforce could feel all the artistic progress I’d made over the previous eight months ebbing away and knew I needed to make some sort of positive attempt to stem the trickle before it turned into a flood, leaving me all dried up and creatively shrivelled.
And now – July 2008 – almost a year after it was created, One Creative Thing is moving into a new design and a better structure – I’ve shifted the whole thing from Blogger (which was driving me mad because it was so slow to post, hence the big gaps leading up to the current time – hoping these will shrink away now!) over to WordPress, sat down and designed a template for it and coded it all up myself (ever so creative!). I hope you find it effective and enticing.
And of course, if you should feel inspired to undertake a similar enterprise, please leave a comment with a link to your own One Creative Thing blog and, if you’d like, a note about how you find the exercise of doing just one creative thing a day. I’d love to hear about it!
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