Ideas for creativity

How to boost creativity is a very interesting subject. Because from a theoretical stand point, you can entangle yourself in complex answers. But from a practical stand point, I think there is only one answer: Just start to create.

Provoked?

I understand that you may feel frustrated reading that statement. Or perhaps you think “It’s easy for you to say, because you are creative”.

Before you continue to read this reflective essay, I invite you to try to take off any pre-set judgements or ideas. Because more often than not, we already limit ourselves in our creativity before we even begin to try. And the reason is simply due to you living up to a self-fulfilling prophecy that you (or someone else) ones placed on you.

To tell yourself things like “I am not creative” or “I can’t do it”, means that you most likely won’t succeed. It’s not until you open your mind to allow new ways of thinking that you nourish the creative side of your brain.

It’s not until you unblock limiting believes and try to concentrate on “neutral observation” that you find new solutions creatively. How to boost creativity

What do I mean by “neutral observation”?

 

Neutral observation refers to looking at a problem free from judgement, which allows you to discover new things.

To give a concrete example: When you’ve lived in the same place for an extended period of time (perhaps you even grew up there), you stop noticing the small details. Your vision gets cluttered with pre-set ideas of how it looks like based on years of walking the same street.

If someone you don’t like live in a specific house, you may not like that house. But if you didn’t know who lived there you may find the house very beautiful.

Another thing to note when it comes to buildings specifically… A seemingly mundane and regular building in reality will look completely different when turned into a drawing or embroidery. It all depends on the details that you decide to accentuate, where the light comes from (shadow), composition, color scheme, textures (especially if embroidered)…

However, most of the time that mundane building will never even get the chance to shine in an art depiction. Because none cared to take off their ideas of it being a boring subject and thus they never try.

One example that you can do today to boost creativity

A first concrete thing that you can do differently to boost your creativity today, is to take another way to school or work than usual. Something as small as changing your habitual route causes a slight disruption and discomfort, which are great accelerators for new ideas and creativity.

This is also one of the reasons for why Charles and I decided to leave the comforts of our house in Sweden to go on new adventures on the other side of the continent. If you never try something new, you will never know, and your pre-set ideas will get more and more complex, until one day you feel like you don’t have a drop of creativity left….

Creative satisfaction and fulfilment

As you read this, I assume that you consider yourself a creative person. If not in practise (you may feel like you’re not as creative as you’d like to be), you have a part of you that feel the need to be involved in creative activities.

To give a personal example… When I haven’t been creating anything for some time, it’s as if my fingers start to itch. I get almost physically sick when I don’t get time and space to practise creativity, which naturally has a negative impact on both my own well-being and those surrounding me.

Maybe you are the same? And if not the same, similar?

Julia Cameron refers to this as “blocked artists” in her book “The artist’s way”. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a practising artist in the sense that it’s your vocation. It simply means that we are millions of people, whether we work with it professionally or not, who have a greater need for creative satisfaction and fulfilment to feel good than others.

So, how to boost creativity and thereby your well-being?

Let’s return to my answer in the introduction: Just start to create.

I have spoken about this numerous times already, but it can never be repeated enough. As soon as you start to create with your hands, it’s as if the veil of creative limitations gets lifted.

For each stitch, new ideas slowly comes running. With each stitch, you become more grounded. With each stitch, you feel slightly more connected to yourself again.

Even if it seems like the easiest thing to do, it’s one of the hardest of them all.

To start is always the most difficult and yet we don’t give it enough priority.”It’s ok, I can do it later”, or “I’ll do it as soon as…”

As soon as what?

James Clear, in his book “Atomic habits”, talks about the necessity to put a place and time to any desired activity that you want to implement in your life. If you don’t put it in your calendar with a date and time attached to it, whatever “it” is, will most likely never happen.

This applies to everything from professional, health, personal, mental, relationships and of course creativity!

Hence, if you want to become more creative, you need to start by creating something. That something doesn’t have to be anything advanced. It doesn’t even have to be something unique. In fact, there is a greater chance of success if you put the bar low and start out with someone else’s pattern for example.

The only thing you need to do then is to just schedule when and where you will sit down with your embroidery materials and add a couple of stitches. You don’t have to think about what type of design to make, which colors to use or what technique that is the most suitable.

Rue d'aboukir stitched by Destadsfabriek
@Destadsfabriek working on one of our patterns of Paris

Don’t start in the wrong end

Don’t start by putting too much pressure on your shoulders or else you will make yourself drown before you have the chance to swim and enjoy your creative state.

On the outside it may seem like I’m super creative and productive all the time, but truth is: I am not. I have exactly the same struggles that you have when it comes to feeling creative.

Creativity is not a static state. It’s a roller-coaster that reflects your current situation and how much attention/priority you give it at a certain time. In a way it’s exactly like your physical condition.

You may consider yourself as a sporty person, but when you really reflect you realise that you didn’t go out running for months (guilty over here!). You don’t think about it further than “Ok, let’s get out running”. But instead of adapting your run to your new physical state, you go all in only to realise that you can’t keep up any more… As a result, you feel discouraged and doubtful of yourself because you started in the wrong end.

If you want to get more creative, don’t start with the big fancy project just because it’s what you used to do. Things have changed. Life has changed. You have changed. So start small and build it up from there.

Let’s start together creativity together

It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone. There is no need to delve into it further more than recognising it’s been tough and that life goes on.

The next question is: What to do now?

Personally, I want to get back to feeling creative. I miss that energy boost from being in a creative flow, to feel inspired and that I’m “doing something”.

And I want to invite YOU to join me!

Maybe you feel the same way as me? That it’s already April and you didn’t have the chance to start working on your new years projects yet… What are we waiting for?

Creative Challenge #1

On Friday 22nd of April we kick off a Creative Challenge with focus on boosting creativity. For 5 weeks, you will receive a new workshop in your Charles and Elin Academy account every Friday.

The workshop will be in a real-time format (pre-recorded), where we spend one hour together working on a page in our embroidery sketchbook with the goal to kickstart our creative ideas (and the amazing feeling of being in a creative flow!!).

Each workshop will have a niched topic and you can choose to only work on it for that one hour of the workshop per week, or you use the workshop time as your step board to see where your creativity takes you.

Schedule of the videos: creative challenge

  • 22 April
  • 29 April
  • 6 May
  • 13 May
  • 20 May
  • 27 May

The videos will be available for replay under the curriculum section of the Creative Challenge, which means that if you can’t make it one week, it’s not a huge deal… HOWEVER, referring to what I wrote about in this article, the most important is that you make the commitment to yourself (not to me!).

So if you miss one week, schedule for 2 hours the following week in order to catch up. In general, when you join the Creative Challenge (which I hope you will), make sure to dedicate 1 hour per week to watch the workshop.

What materials do I need?

The goal of the series is to boost creativity NOT to use fancy tools and materials. There is no class project with specific colors or anything like that. As a result, use what you have at home or easily available to you to not sweat the material part too much.

If you’ve done creative projects in the past, I guess you may even have some left over materials that you haven’t gotten around to use yet: that will be perfect now!

In short we’ll use: 

  • Fabric (can be any fabric – to use varying types of fabric is a way to boost your creativity and experience of how it feels to stitch on different materials)
  • A needle
  • Floss
  • Scissor
  • Preferably an embroidery hoop to help you stretch out the fabric, but it’s not necessary if you don’t happen to have one at home.

How to the join the Creative Challenge?

Come and sign up for the Charles and Elin Academy!

The Creative Challenge will be exclusive to the Academy Membership, which means that if you’re already a member you will automatically receive access to the videos when they go live.

If you’re not yet a member, come and join us by clicking the image below ❤️ 

Charles and Elin Academy membership

You can join for as many or few months as suits you. Considering that the challenge lasts for 5 weeks, you’ll most likely need to count on a minimum of 2 months to complete the challenge together and have time to also look at at the tutorials related to how to create your embroidered sketchbook.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to hello@charlesandelin.com if you have any questions.

Can’t wait to get started together and learn how to boost creativity!

Xo, Elin

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