Tag Archives: 30 Days of Creative Play

5 Ways to Play Today

So far this week, I have shared with you why I started Creative Play™ in the first place and talked about some of the falsehoods around creativity (a.k.a. some of the reasons I was so slow to see the value of play). I hope that I now have you thinking, “Hmm. Maybe I should do something.” Today, I am going to suggest a couple of things that you can do to get started right now:

  1. Doodle – No matter where you are or what supplies you have on hand, doodling is something that you can do. You only need a scrap of paper and some writing implement. Take 5 minutes, turn away from your screen, and just doodle. Draw lines, draw shapes, make dots, it doesn’t matter. At the end of 5 minutes, see how you feel. A little less tense? 
  2. Color – You may have succumbed to the adult coloring book trend and have one lying around. Even if you haven’t, coloring pages are easy to find online and print (Google Free Coloring Pages). You probably also have some crayons or markers around somewhere to use. If not, the stationery aisle of your local grocery store or pharmacy will have them.
  3. Make a Flip Book – Did you make flip books as a kid? You draw something on the front page of a stack of sticky notes. On the next page, you draw the same thing, but alter it slightly. You keep doing this, making small alterations to your drawing, and as you flip through the stack of pages, the images look like they are moving. Supplies needed – just a stack of sticky notes and a pen.
  4. Find Letters – Go for a walk with your camera phone. If it’s possible to walk outside, go out. (Fresh air does wonders.) Look for what’s called “Found Letters.”  They are things or pieces of things that look like letters, but aren’t type.  For example, the J in the handle of an umbrella or an A in the supports of a sign. (Google Found Letters) Look for your initials and take pictures when you find them.
  5. Build Something – Using supplies you have on-hand, build something. Create a chain of paperclips or twist them into sculptures. Make a pencil tower. Use colored push pins to fashion a design on your bulletin board or cubicle wall. See what can be done with the change in your pocket.

And of course, #6 Sign up for 30 Days of Creative Play™. No supplies are needed to get started so you can begin today. Use coupon code Play15 for 15% off the class fee until 12/15/17.

Please feel free to share your doodles, paper clip sculptures and other creative play on the Creative Play Date Facebook page. We love to see what you create!

Learning to Play

I recently launched an online course called 30 Days of Creative Play™ that is designed to provide a kick start to one’s creativity when it starts lagging through 30 days of 15-minute creative exploration exercises. Over the course of this week, I want to discuss how I came to creative play and some of the major falsehoods about it.

When I first started experimenting with creative play, “play” was not in my vocabulary. Play is not something that I am good at; I wasn’t even good at it as a child. I’ve been incredibly serious (my sister might say “boring”) from nearly the beginning so by the time I became an adult, there was nothing remotely like play in my life. But, when I was barely into my 30s, I became desperate for it. I was working in a soul-crushing job with a horrible commute and it was killing me. I don’t remember what caused this moment of clarity, but I realized that to make it through the job until I could find something better, I needed to do something creative. I needed to create to counteract work that I thought was pointless and I needed something that fed my soul to keep it from dying in that job. That’s when I started Creative Play™.

When I first started Creative Play™, I didn’t have any grand plans. Since I am a quilter, I decided I would try out a new technique or tool each week and blog about it. I made small pieces that could be easily accomplished in a brief period of time with no goal in mind for them other than to experiment and have fun. That creative outlet helped me survive that job, but it also gave me a chance to expand my quilting skills and add a whole range of techniques to my repertoire. Some of those techniques that I played with then have come back into my work ten years later. I also found myself suddenly much more alive than I had ever been, even while still killing myself working for a bank.

Fast forward five years and I found myself again in another soul-crushing job (How did I let that happen again??), only this time, I also had a toddler. Between full-time work and full-time parenting, I was barely keeping my head above water and any thoughts of finding creative time were just hopeless. But, as before, I realized that something needed to change or I was going to wind up in the hospital with a heart attack or something. So slowly, I started to play again. This time though, I didn’t limit myself to quilting techniques, but I started doing anything creative, from coloring in coloring books to watercolor painting. I took a few online classes in a variety of media that I had never explored before and experimented, played, and enjoyed myself. I realized that it only took me a few minutes a day of some creative activity and my blood pressure came down, I was able to breathe again, and I found the patience I needed to manage toddlers, both at home and at the office.

I eventually quit that horrible job and rather than rush right into another one (though I interviewed for it), I stepped back, spent more time creating, and realized that I was even more on fire creatively than I had been before. Ideas came easily and the art that I was creating actually looked like what I had envisioned. (That was new!) “There must be something to this,” I thought and I began to formalize the play that I had been experimenting with over a decade into the Creative Play™ program. I realized that I had actually spent a lot of time reading about creativity, learning about it through trial and error, and devising a set of exercises that could be done in 15 minutes a day. I thought that there might be others feeling like I was – frustrated, unfulfilled, adrift – and that by capturing what I had learned, I could spare others the decade of trial and error. And thus, 30 Days of Creative Play™ was born.

I’ll be addressing Creativity Falsehood #1 tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Creative Play Newsletter: Vol.2, Issue 1 – Happy Anniversary

This issue marks the one year anniversary of this newsletter. When I created my communication plan, I was going to use the issue to reflect on the past year and to try and pull together a summary. Instead, I find myself looking forward in this moment and not backward. I have decided recently to develop Creative Play™ into something more than this newsletter and I am excited to tell you about those plans.

I am developing Creative Play™ into a full program of creativity talks, courses, and workshops. I’m sending out proposals for Creative Play™ workshops at conferences, developing class plans for 6-8 week live classes and am about to test run a month-long online workshop. I believe that playing in a variety of art media is the best way to become fearlessly creative again and I’m going to be spending my time sharing that message.

One of the first things I am launching is a “30 Days of Creative Play™” online course. Each day for 30 days (plus one intro day), I will send an exercise for play. Each exercise is meant to be short – 15 to 30 minutes, and will involve a variety of different media. You’ll have an assignment so you won’t have to face a blank page but the only goal will be to play without the pressure to produce something useful. There’s no prep required; the prep work is built into the exercises so you can get started right away. Creative play is a great way to loosen up before you start your studio practice. It is a great way to kickstart your creativity if you’re feeling like you’re in a rut. Creative play is also a wonderful way to find a little joy if you’ve been feeling like something’s missing in your life, but you’re not quite sure what. Be a kid again for 15 minutes a day, every day for a month and reconnect with that joy and creativity you felt so effortlessly when you were young.

If you’re interested in participating in my free trial run of “30 Days of Creative Play™,” you’ll find an exercise each day on the Creative Play Date Facebook page starting tomorrow (July 14th). If you would like to receive each exercise in your email box, email me at julie(at)julieneu.com  and I will put you on the mailing list.

Let’s Play!