On the Mediterranean coast of Spain the weather is at its nicest this time of year.  It’s warm, sunny with a gentle breeze.  It’s my favourite time of year and a good moment to shake off creative cobwebs.  I take a walk on the beach most mornings. I like to experience the sights and sounds of nature before the traffic gets busy and there are people everywhere. 

The other day I started to think about all the blocks we put in our creative paths.  Spring and summer provide us with more light and warmer temperatures. We should take advantage of these and get creative. Our gardens need love, and perhaps a facelift. It’s the time to start projects on our homes; it’s the moment to de-clutter our lives physically and mentally; it’s a great opportunity to get more exercise or go on a diet.

But often apathy, lack of confidence and uncertainty about the outcome cause us to put up mental barricades.

Are you putting up creative barriers?

I used to. Then I tried some alternative ways of thinking and doing and I preferred them to my old ways.  These helped me and they can help you too.

1. Give yourself permission to make a mess or fail.  Perfection isn’t necessary.  Just be good enough. Have a go. If things don’t turn out quite right, start again.  Messing up and failing are crucial to creativity. If you insist on success or perfection, you are not giving your creative self a chance.

2. Think outside the box.  Forget logic and rules for a while. Remember how much fun it was to break the rules at school?  Do something in a different way. That’s real creativity. Don’t rely on your grandmother’s tried and tested recipe for chocolate cake, experiment, add your own secret ingredient.

3. Be relaxed.   Instead of doing everything in a panic. Decide which of your projects are most meaningful to you and treat them with reverence. When you are stressed it’s hard to think at all, let alone creatively. Remember that not everything that is urgent is meaningful.  By meaningful we mean important to you. Decide each morning what tasks will be meaningful for you and which ones you are obliged to do.

4. Be positive.   Being negative is a fabulous way of making sure your creativity doesn’t see the light of day. Don’t  be timid about change, be bold. Look for new opportunities. Look at your projects through the eyes of a child, a dreamer, an entrepreneur or an architect. Be brave and step out into the great unknown.  Life can be so much fun out there.

5. Free up your thinking.  When you think: “My partner won’t like how I’ve done this”  or “This is how gardens should be”  you are making assumptions. Stop it.  Knock your assumptions on the head. When you make assumptions you believe you know what is in the minds of others, their likes and dislikes, their wants and needs. Look at your creative projects. Challenge the status quo. Do it your way.

Remember the words of Bob Marley:

“I like to see you move with the rhythm;  I like to see when you’re dancing  from within.”

Till next time – Use all that summer energy and let your soul dance.

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