I was hit by a sudden realisation a few months ago… Creativity is like a muscle. It can either be trained up, stretched till it knows no bounds, or it can be neglected, uncultivated and left to deteriorate into a flabby mass (a bit like my post-pregnant belly did..oops). With this in mind, in last week’s post (if you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you read it Here first as it lays some ground work to what I’ll be talking about today in Part 2) we ended by asking one very important question – “How does one grow and increase their creative capacity; to propel them forward in their creative cake (or non-cake) career?”
Well, below are some things I’ve learned over the years gleaning from other mentors, speakers, readings and just tutored from plain ol’ experience.
Get Out of the Kitchen
Nothing breeds inspiration more than exposure. So head to museums, art markets, galleries, gardens, expos… Creative, colourful, fun places that you can soak in the works of other artists
It is so easy to fall into the ho-hum of life and lose our excitement and wonder in our day-to-day. I’ve observed one thing that amazing artists possess is a playful curiosity to explore, investigate and figure stuff out.
Read Interviews of Other Artists & Cake Decorators
I love reading biographies and interviews of other dreamers, makers and world shakers. Having a peek inside the lives of significant others helps us learn from their experiences and get ideas on how to approach cake design. You can head to my past Cake Conversations posts here and here to read on the journeys of some amazing cake creatives.
Give yourself space & time to daydream
Err…why is this important?
Creative ideas don’t often come into cluttered, busy minds. To have amazing creative ideas, we actually has to have space & time in our week to contemplate, dream and imagine.
“Who has time to afford this?” you say…
I totally get you. Running a full time teaching business, managing cake orders, wife-ing, mumma-ing, etc I so know what it’s like to be a crazy juggler trying to keep so many balls in the air. There just doesn’t seem to be any time for this it seems. But here’s the thing. There IS time… Or rather, here’s how we can make time:
Dream up new ideas whilst excrcising (walking dog, running, walking, gym etc)
Spend slightly less time scrolling on your IG & Facebook feeds (set an alarm timer to limit your scroll time)
When we’re commuting on public transport
Go out on our own (maybe to a park) during lunch break once a week
20 minutes before bedtime (though be warned, it could be hard to sleep if your mind keeps on ticking afterwards)
Start a Cake Journal
It can be a notebook, a mood board, a folder, or even a shoebox…It don’t matter but what you wanna do is have ONE place (and not a million itty bitty post-its on the fridge) where you can house all your cake ideas. I’ve got a notebook next to my laptop where I pen down dessert designs, cake sketches, blog ideas, cake goals and potential things I want to experiment with. Ideally you want to be writing and revisiting these ideas on a monthly basis and from this, create time in your schedule to fulfil some of these ideas in the coming months. This action helps translate your creative ideas into reality.
“What if it doesn’t work? What if it looks u-g-l-y? What if what if what it…” These are the thoughts that often come to mind when we get a ground-breakingly unique idea. To create something truly new, we often have to take risks. Sometimes, it’ll work out ah-may-zing and other times,… blehh. But the truth is, the real Michealango moments only come to the daring cakers.
Yes, they exist. Whilst there are things that help stretch our creativity, there are also those that snuff em out.. And I’ve wrestled with them myself. So here are some baddies that we want to be aware if and push out of our lives to help us flourish into confident, creative cakers.
Fear & doubt is what holds us back from exploring and traversing new territory. The whole what will people think mindset is something I’ve been working on flushing out of my system. Fear is the no.1 thing that holds us back and limits our potential. We overcome it by knowing who we are, by knowing our purpose and by simply taking bold steps forward.
The biggest thing affecting cakers & bakers today (I believe) is comparison. Nothing will steal your joy of ‘creating & making’ quicker than comparison. So do yourselves a favour and read this post where I talk in-depth about how to overcome caker comparison.
It will come at some point. You’ll post up a cake you’ve been working on for 30 hours, get 10 amazing comments, a buncha likes and then….. one random person will leave a rude comment on your post -> Cue tragic music.
The fact is, not everyone will like our work. But if you look closely, there will often be more likers than haters. So as a certain Miss Taytay says,… shake it off. The haters ain’t worth your time (though constructive feedback is something we should pay attention to). Allowing negative comments to get us down is giving others authority where they shouldn’t be permitted. So just drop it like it’s hot and move on.
Okay, I’m sooooooo not trying to be a cake police here or point fingers at anyone. But this is just a gentle encouragement to you to step outside the box as much as you can and try creating your own designs. If we’re only reproducing designs or the work of others, we won’t have any space to “create” our own works. Places to try out new ideas & designs:
Make some dummy cakes for practice
New designs for cake or wedding expos
Be a part of online collaborations
Make birthday cakes for close family members & personal occasions
Giveaways & competitions
Stress & Excessive Busyness
Gosh it’s so easy to jump on a threadmill of constant work & agendas isn’t it? Stress coupled with overworking sucks all the joy out of the creative cake process so as much as you can, rest, regroup, get help and outsource areas that you’re struggling with. Make time for a lil R&R and give yourself some love.