Lessons from an expert

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Here are some creativity lessons I’ve learned from observing a total creativity expert: my 9 year old daughter…

1. Don’t take it too seriously

It’s playtime! There are materials and paints and pretty puffy things and there’s time to layer them all together and experiment… let’s lighten up and have fun.

Perfection is kind of dull, after all.

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2. Get it all out

This kid makes a giant mess every single time.

But I’ve learnt to sit back and let her, because after twenty minutes or so of silent concentration, she’ll invariably come to me with a giant smile on her face, bearing something that she’s clearly as pleased as punch with herself for making.

And that’s what we’re after, isn’t it? Not the immaculate, Pinterest-worthy artwork: that feeling of, “I did good today.”

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3. Change it up all over the place

Kitty would never just stick to one form of creativity in a million years.

One day, she’ll love making unicorns from Hama beads; the next, she’s watercoloring flowers and rainbows. After that she’ll be chopping a cardboard box into a decorated cat house or sticking an ice-cream she’s drawn with pastels onto a card…

She keeps things interesting and that keeps her interest.

It might pay us to do the same – pocket pages, 12×12 layouts, mini albums, crafts, home decor, art journals, mixed media… why not have a go on all the rides in the playground?

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4. She keeps making sessions short and sweet

This one has been a key revelation for me.

If I decided that I needed a couple of free hours each day to create, I know that I wouldn’t make nearly so often. For one thing, I’d never have that much free time, but also to have *hours*? Eek: way too intimidating and pressure-filled.

I mean, if you’ve got hours, the result had better be good, right?

But give me half an hour and, sure, I’ll throw a few papers behind a photo and see what happens: that’s just playtime.

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5. She’s not frightened to experiment

So often we have these annoying voices in our heads as we make: “Ooh, don’t try that, it might not work,” or “What if you do that and it all goes wrong?” 

I made a little page the other day that I totally messed up.

I’d got some new watercolours, so kind of got a little carried away with my background. Halfway through and my page had become crazy-busy: it had lost any sense of design ever being a consideration.

I had two options: sling the thing or make it work.

So I turned my page round and folded it over, blocking out most of the crazy painting. I was left with a beautifully blank portion of paper on which to re-stick my cluster and try again. Sure my title and journalling now ran sideways, but who really cares?

Harmony was restored – but I had to be willing to go with the experiment.

What creativity lessons do you learn from the little ones in your world? Chat with me over on Instagram.