5 abstract paintings in progress

Creative practice vs creating

A practice of practicing

Did you read What is Creating for Happiness last week? It’s a busy time of year I know. Check it out if you missed it. Creating for Happiness is a new free creativity program that I’m launching 1 January 2018. The short description is that it’s a program to help you create something every day during your Creating for Happiness practice time. 

A lot of work has gone into making the Creating for Happiness program. I love knowing how things work and come together. I thought today I’d explain what is meant by ‘creative practice’. If that sounds a bit too serious for your liking all you need to keep in mind is that doing Creating for Happiness practice each day is dedicated play time. Play is joyful and brings happiness. If that’s all you need to know then there is no reason to read on! If, like me, you like the nuts and bolts bits then the rest of this post is for you. 

Detail of abstract painting in progress

What is a daily creative practice?

For the purposes of Creating for Happiness, our daily practice is a commitment to making some kind of art daily. No matter what. It is time where we explore art making while withholding judgement of it. Time where we listen to ourselves, noting the negative self talk, acknowledging it and letting it go, and replacing it with the silence that our true thoughts, desires and preferences can speak into. Our creative practice is the time we grow our creative expression. Creating for Happiness sees this daily practice as outside of what we call normal creating. Normal creating is what you were already doing before Creating for Happiness. 

Why do we think of Creating for Happiness practice as different? 

The reason lies in our busy days, nights and lives. So many of us are so busy and distracted and we use our creating to bring pleasure and something different into our lives. And those of us who work with our creating and get paid for it are often pulled in creative directions not necessarily of our choosing. Market forces and economic necessities impose on all but the most successful of artists, and even then, they can make a dent. 

Detail of abstract painting in progress

Creating for Happiness is a dedicated time for practice, play and discovery!

Imagine you have you have a whole day freed up for creative work. You’ll no doubt have an idea what you will do. On the day you more or less do what you had thought you would. Great! This creative work is very important to you and for good reason. 


Now imagine you take the first 15 mins or so of your creative time and do Creating for Happiness practice first, as you’ve been doing these last few days, before you get on with the rest of your creative agenda. You’ve been chasing a direction from your cruise control list these last few days. Your not sure where it’s going but you’re enjoying the ride. At the end of the allocated time you pack that away and get on with your main creative activity for the day. During that creating an idea pops into your head – it’s the idea you’ve been thinking about from Creating for Happiness practice, even though you didn’t know you were thinking about it. It’s a breakthrough! It’s exciting!


That’s great but lets rewind and imagine the whole day freed up for creative work again from the beginning. You begin with your Creating for Happiness practice. Done and packed away you begin your other creating, your normal creating. Someone pops in to ask you a question, your phone rings (maybe you need to turn that off?), someone NEEDS you to do something right now. We all know how this day ends. Not much creating gets done. It is hard to prioritise our own creativity above other responsibilities. In an ideal world we would follow the advice of the gurus and prioritise that way, but in the real world we know it is hard and not always doable. 


But on this day you have created! You did do your Creating for Happiness practice. By committing to prioritising 15 or so minutes above other most other responsibilities you can, you will, create every day. It is possible to prioritise a short amount of time above other demands. 

Detail of abstract painting in progress

Why create every day?

There is a whole discussion of the link between happiness and creativity to come. I’ll post about that soon. Ignoring happiness for now, (now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d need!) we come down to quantity vs quality. The old adage “practice makes perfect” is true and there’s scientific proof believe it or not. This article has a telling quote from Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland and a fabulous short video on the creative process that eloquently explains why quantity beats quality by subversion, with quantity bringing quality hand in hand with it. 

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands 🎶

If Creating for Happiness sounds like something you could enjoy there is more information on the Creating for Happiness page. It’s free. It’s creative. It’s doable. And it’s happy. Join now.


The photos above are detail shots of abstract paintings in progress. 

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