In this post I want to talk about creativity. Do you believe yourself creative? Are you as creative as you'd like to be? What does the word "creativity" mean to you? Expressive people tend to be healthier, happier people (that's just my observation) and we all fare best when we feel seen and heard.
I mix with a lot of "creatives." Many of my friends and acquaintances are artists, writers, dancers, storytellers and poets. Yet somehow the very word 'creative' can be loaded. "Oh, I'm not creative" is a refrain I've heard from so other many people. I wonder how much potential is murdered each time those words are uttered.
I'm convinced the act of play is basic human instinct. We know it innately in childhood. A sense of curiosity propels us forward as we begin to learn the world and its ways. If we're lucky, creativity-inspiring spaces await us: sandpits, crayon boxes, kaleidoscopes and meeting with other game-playing children. The act of play brings us joy and uses up our surplus energy. What could be more natural?
However, what happens later down the line? I suspect it's in school classrooms so many of us learn a language of 'good' and 'bad,' 'right' and 'wrong' around our creative potential. There are rules in school music rooms; art classes; sessions of English Composition. Whilst I respect these rules to a point (obviously as well as play we need framework and boundaries within our lives) I wonder about the consequences.
Two years ago now I started running creative writing workshops for adults. My background was in writing rather than teaching. I started the workshops with the assumption this was something I could do. Over the years I'd attended no lack of writing classes and workshops and groups, had clear ideas of what worked for me and what didn't. I was aware of my urge to hold space for others creativity; to take the onus of my own writing.
I'd carefully plan out each session (and still do!) working with themes of interest to me. (Writing myth and fairy tale; body-centric working; writing from nature...) and picking out texts and designing writing exercises as springboards for inspiration. As I ran the workshops, something else emerged. The most crucial aspect of each session struck me as people being heard.
Writing can be a scary process; sharing one's writing with the group can be even scarier still (and even though I encourage the latter, obviously it's optional!). As long as participants are mindful of others in the space, I simply try to make it clear that the creative output of all the participants is equally valid; their writing welcome.
My life's journey thus far has taught me over and over again that when I feel really seen - often in situations that push my boundaries: acting classes, performing my writing, dance - I feel happier, more connected and more present. I believe this is universal, although our means of expression differ.
This year I'll begin studying for a foundation in "Dance Movement Psychotherapy." My goal is to combine elements of this training with other interests of mine: writing, storytelling and acting and to meld these into bespoke creativity workshops. Here's my question: if individuals and groups are given a chance to really express themselves, what happens?
I aim to run team-building workshops for corporate environments. Beyond this my goal is also to work with marginalised groups. I'd love to work with charity-funded organisations to give immigrants, LGBT people, adults and children with learning difficulties and so on a space to be heard. For those who cannot speak, what can be communicated through a safe space and movement? Creativity feels like the pivotal point in my life; the axis on which I revolve. I'd like to turn this further outwards; see what this can accomplish.
How about you? What are your creative pursuits, creative goals or blocks? I'd love to hear from you.
For information of current and future creative writing/creativity workshops I'm facilitating please direct enquires to RobertaChloeVerdant@gmail.com