One of the best ways to kickstart your creativity is to try new things. Especially if those new things are far from your normal comfort zone, and especially if they involve play.
Play is an essential part of creativity, and of our lives as human beings, but its something that is trained out of us as adults.
I am especially bad about this. I freely admit I have forgotten how to play. I never do anything that doesn’t in some way equal productivity. I’m not able to bring myself to undertake any activity that won’t result in some positive learning outcome or tangible deliverable object. Its so bloody worthy!
So when a friend suggested I join her at a cupcake decorating class, I jumped at the chance.
Okay, there were concrete deliverables involved – yummy pretty cupcakes were the result. But the point is that I have never done any kind of sugarcraft before, and I haven’t used an icing piping bag in what feels like centuries, so it seemed like a fun thing to try.
We made sugar paste flowers and polkadot wellies and glittery butterflies and plump little heart shapes out of icing. We learnt how to roll and knead and colour our sugar paste. And then we went mad with the piping bags and learnt to make icing grass, piped roses, ‘Mr Whippy’ toppings (which you probably won’t understand unless you are British and have eaten a ‘Mr Whippy’ ice cream!) and piped hydrangea flowers with edible pearls on them. So pretty!
In other words, we played. For over two hours. And it was brilliant. Even putting the cupcakes in a presentation box at the end was pretty and fun.
I spent an entire evening, not using my left brain at all, and believe me, it was just the pick-up I needed. Since I tried this fun new activity, I haven’t made or decorated any cakes, and I’m not too bothered if I never do. But I’ve written lots and I’m excited about writing in a way I haven’t been for months. Total release.
So if you are stuck in a rut with your chosen creative path, whatever it is, why not try something new. Muck about. Have fun with friends. Do something with absolutely no emotional investment in it, and just enjoy it. The worst that will happen is that you go home with a tray of delicious cupcakes. And frankly, thats not really a bad outcome now, is it?
(NOTE: All the cupcakes and icing were gluten free. Recipes for the cupcakes and the butter icing came from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, and the sugar paste was Sainsbury’s Fondant Icing.)