Creativity Corner: Time to make a change

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In the second of a new monthly column award-winning publisher and writing tutor Amanda Seyderhelm writes specially for readers. Amanda recently relocated from London to Stamford, and specialises in teaching people to find their voice...

Christmas has been and gone, all the Champagne corks have popped, and you are left with broken News Year’s resolutions. Hmm, so far not much fun.

That’s the thing about the New Year, it drives people into corners where they make unrealistic deals with themselves – I will pay an unreasonable sum of money to the gym each month and only go once; I will go on another diet, starve myself, and then rush to Morrisons and buy all the buy one get one frees, and eat them! Crazy isn’t it?

Resolutions that were made to be broken. So why do you do it? Well, I think you do it partly because you are uninspired. After all the fun and festivities you reach for the most obvious, a bit like reaching for the first dress or suit when you open your wardrobe.

What you miss is that gorgeous spangly dress or suit at the back of the wardrobe. You are bored, and so you reach for the obvious things, and miss the spangly bits. The real fun and rush is to be found in the spangly bits. It’s when you find the spangly bits that you start to feel that rush of ‘Yes’ in your head, the voice that has you reaching for your car keys (Yes, let’s drive to Brighton and view that beach house), and calling the estate agent to put the house on the market (Yes, it’s time to move on). When you are inspired you are more likely to make lasting changes.

So, where do you start? Well, the first step is to do a stock take. And I don’t mean to literally clear out your wardrobes like all the magazines tell you to do. So last year! ‘Taking stock’ is going to be more interesting than that, trust me. Move to your creative corner, grab your pen and notebook, and on the left-hand page of a clean double page spread write the following statements, then complete them:

I am surprised that I ...

I found doing ... really challenging

The parts I enjoyed were ...

What I have learned about myself this month is ...

The inner resources I’ve discovered are ...

I congratulate myself for ...

To develop my creativity further I could ...

Repeat this exercise on a monthly basis, and write your answers in your creative notebook. It will help you to track your progress, and to understand more about what resources you need, and what you can chuck out. This is an intuitive de-cluttering versus a clearing out of your wardrobes. You will be moving the furniture around as opposed to just dusting. Remember, lasting change is what you are aiming for.

Now that you have some data about yourself, what do you do with it? Look for connections in your writing, things that make you go ‘ah-hah’ which are really moments when things become clear. Draw or write a message to yourself. These connections can be expanded at a later date. For now they are clues as to your next steps, the stuff you want to resolve, the challenges you want to take up this year, and the creative projects you want to achieve (writing a book, a story, making a piece of art). Learning to trust yourself reinforces creative power. I want you to have the courage to follow up the connections you have made, and to pursue the clues you have discovered.