I’m Caitlin and I’m a composer. Also an artist. A PhD student. And occasional photographer, knitter, sewer, home-renovator, teacher, cook, web designer/developer… you get the drift. I started One Creative Thing in 2007 when after 8 months of creative sabbatical I returned to full-time work and found my brain slinking away out my ears after a mere couple of days of being in the workforce, and all the progress I’d made over those 8 months disappearing into thin air – I knew I needed to make some sort of positive attempt to stem the trickle before it turned into a flood, leaving me all dried up and creatively shrivelled.
I discovered Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way in 2006 and one of the most important things I gleaned from it was that while one may feel a need to express one’s creativity, it’s not always necessary to make what Cameron calls “Art with a capital A”. Sometimes small-a art is enough to get you through – amateur artmaking is just as good for the soul as professional, and sometimes better to a despairing mood than battling to write a masterpiece and sometimes just buying a book or some origami paper can help to spark something and get back to the capital-A Art.
Cameron’s books include a lot of exercises for the struggling creative (and if you count yourself one of them – whether a creative person who’s blocked or someone who’d like to be creative but doesn’t think they can be – I really encourage you to read The Artist’s Way), and I’m not entirely sure whether this is her idea I’m working on here or one that I’ve come to from reading her books and thinking this way for so long. But at any rate – hers or mine – it seems a reasonable sort of an idea and this is the place where I’m giving it a go. I call it One Creative Thing and the idea is that if I do at least one creative thing every day – whether that’s writing fabulous music, drawing a dodgy picture of my teddy bear, baking a batch of muffins or borrowing a book of poetry from the library, then my capital-A Art will be the better for it. And if all I feel capable of on a given day is the library book, then perhaps I’ll feel more capable of the fabulous music the next day.
I have a history of using the internet to hold myself accountable for hare-brained schemes, which is why this is a blog rather than just something I tried to do. And this blog has also become the repository for documenting a number of other creativity projects I’ve got involved in in recent years.
In the years since I started it, the purpose of One Creative Thing has also changed for me: since ditching contracting work in 2011 and more particularly since starting my Masters degree in 2012, I no longer need to struggle to find something creative in my day, so posting has become a little erratic since then. The purpose of the blog now is mostly that I like writing about a range of things and as most of my life revolves around creative activity of one sort or another, this seems like a fairly appropriate place to talk about those things – whether it’s my most recent obsession (dressmaking), or writing a book review, or posting an update on our renovation work, or talking through ideas about pieces in progress.
I suspect my readership is tiny or possibly non-existent, but if you do find anything helpful here, please leave a comment! And if you should feel inspired to undertake a similar daily creative challenge enterprise, please share a link to your own One Creative Thing blog and a note about how you find the exercise of doing one creative thing every single day. I’d love to hear about it!