“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
- Louisa May Alcott
A manifesto has three basic components: beliefs, goals and wisdom.
Famous examples of manifestos include The Ten Commandments, Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech and Apples Here’s to the Crazy Ones advertising campaign.
Your personal creativity manifesto can be for your eyes and ears alone or you may wish to share it with others.
A creativity manifesto is a declaration of your intentions, motives or views.
Write down a list of the emotions you feel when you are being critically attacked, whether it’s by others or yourself.
Now write down the things you’d need to hear to keep those emotions at bay. What does your inner artist need to hear to encourage them to start again?
Get inspired by reading what others have written.
“The future depends on what you do today.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Envisioning yourself in the far future can sometimes seem that you’re viewing the life of a stranger, as if you were somehow removed the scene. Although, when we envision ourselves in the near future, say in just a few days, weeks or months time, we tend to see (more or less), the same person.
This is because the far future can often seem a long way away, far from our current experience.
But how often have you heard or used the phrase “Time flies”? When you get “there” (your future), it’s almost like no time has past at all. This is what Eckhart Tolle refers to as the ‘Now’ — there is no past or future, only what happens right now.
Writing to your future self can help you visualise yourself with more of an outsider’s perspective and with more objectivity.
If you have important goals and ideals, you can help yourself stick to them, work towards them and assess them, by writing yourself a letter.
Writing a letter to your future self increases your self awareness.
Have you ever gone back through your old social media posts or emails and been embarrassed by something you posted? If you answered yes it’s because you’re confronting your own shortcomings. But it also shows you how much you have grown.
This exercise helps you to get your thoughts out of the present and focus on what is to come, and more importantly, what you want to become.
Start by writing about who you currently are, talk about your interests and accomplishments.
Talk about your values and beliefs but also your fears.
As well as the things you want to achieve, write about what you want to stop (the things you want to stop doing because they are detrimental to your health or happiness).
These questions should make the current you reflect on what you’ll need to do to become the you who you want to be.
Focusing on where you are now and the decisions you made in your life that led you here can help you evaluate those decisions and what you can change to lead to a different future.
“Normal linear note taking and writing will put you into a semi hypnotic trance, while mind mapping will greatly enhance your left and right brain cognitive skills.”
- Tony Buzan
Popularised in the mid-1970’s by psychology author Tony Buzan, who developed the system, Mind Mapping is a technique in which one captures information and can be used in studying, business and personal life, amongst others.
It can be used for a variety of tasks, including organisation, project management and teaching, and uses a combination of words, symbols and images in its construction.
Mind Maps can be used to describe something tangible (a product, project, artwork, etc. ), or something intangible (an idea, concept, etc.).
Mind Maps work for many people because they can take many forms and variations, although there are a few rules that you should abide by in order to make them work for you at their best.
They are an effective, colourful and fun way to capture your thoughts and bring them to life visually.
They can help you to remember more, become more creative and solve many problems (creative or otherwise).
Take a piece of A4 paper (although larger is better), and at least three coloured pens or pencils.
At the centre of your sheet in landscape mode, write in capital letters or draw an image that captures and represents the central idea.
Draw branches radiating from your central idea (these should be curved, not straight).
At the end of each of these branches, write down the words that you can think of that are associated with your central idea.
For example, if your central idea was New Car, your associated words could be performance, interior, colour, seating, etc.
Repeat the process, continually drawing branching lines emanating from your associated words to other associated words, and so on.
Use as many colours as possible in order to make your mind map pleasing to look at and to avoid confusion.
“When we make our art a practice, when we make our workspace sacred and enter it daily with respect and high intention, then we elevate our actions (even if they're taking place within the profane arena of commerce) beyond ego and above gimme-gimme ambition.”
- Stephen Pressfield
The space in which you work is vital to creativity and efficient productivity. It should be both a sanctuary and an inspiration.
Most of all, it should be somewhere you really enjoy being and somewhere you love to be.
Your office/workspace/studio should have plenty of natural light and should be kept tidy and orderly. It may be clichéd to picture a space of disorder, but a quick Google search of famous artists studios will show you a picture of orderliness and organisation.
Even if you think you haven’t found your creative specialism yet, it will be useful to at least think about the type of place you will do your work in.
It could be an entire room in your house, or if you don’t have the room, a place carved out for you in another room. It could even be in a café or in your local library.
Mark Twain did his work in his bed, Mozart often composed standing up at his billiards table (he was also well known as a skilful billiards player!).
Wherever your space is, make it your own , and make it a place for work and work alone.
“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”
- Issac Asimov
Creative projects often involve having to learn a new skill, no matter how well the person creating is versed in their area of creativity.
For example, anyone who has started a business has probably found themselves having to learn the basics of web design. A writer who has decided to self publish has probably had to learn how to format eBooks. A person who makes craft products has probably had to learn how to take effective photographs of his art in order to share them online.
Learning something new can be both challenging and frustrating but don’t let that put you off doing it.
Josh Kaufmann, in his book The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything Fast expresses the idea that with twenty hours of deliberate practice, you can go from knowing nothing about something to performing noticeably well, whether it’s learning an instrument, learning a language, etc.
His method consists four steps:
Learning can, and should, be about exploring and experimentation (which is also how creativity works a lot of the time -- you learn new things as you go along).
Learning a new skill has many benefits, least of all a feeling of accomplishment and pride.
It will help you to grow as a person and it enhances your knowledge base. It could also lead you onto something very different in your life, for the better.
Find something new you can learn. It doesn’t have to be anything as demanding as learning a language or repairing a car, but at least learn how to perform a small aspect of a larger skill.
Think about something small you are unable to do but could do if you just spent a small amount of time dedicated to it.
Here are some ideas to start you off:
Learn basic HTML code.
Learn how to cook a good meal.
Revise the math skills you have forgotten since you finished school.
Learn a few chords on the guitar or piano.
Learn how to make something using origami.
Apply at least the first three rules of The First 20 Hours method for now.