• Jen Feroze

The Creativity Advent Calendar

Graphic of Creativity Advent Calendar with some of the doors open

This is my favourite time of year. The countdown to Christmas – that glowing slalom from fireworks to frost and fairylights – can’t help but keep me in a perpetually good mood. As a kid, the 1st December came with its own bubble of excitement: the chance to open the first door on the advent calendar, and inhale the (invariably pretty horrible) chocolate that hid behind it.

While the days of chocolate advent calendars are over for me, I still feel that little buzz of excitement each day in December, as the end of the year and its festivities draw nearer. So, this year, I decided to take things into my own hands and create my own advent calendar, which I’m sharing day by day with the lovely folks over in my Facebook group.

The Creativity Advent Calendar

There’s no chocolate, no miniature beauty products and (sadly) no gin involved in this daily countdown. Instead, it’s a 24-day creative challenge, taking us right up to Christmas Eve. From practising calligraphy, to writing letters to your younger self or getting your bake on in the kitchen, the Creativity Advent Calendar encourages us all to take a few minutes out of each day for ourselves, to be unashamedly creative.

Flatlay of poetry books, postcards and hands writing in a notebook from above

OK, That’s the ‘What’… Give Me The Why

Our lives are busy. As small business owners, there are numerous plates to be spun, hats to be worn, places to go, people to see and things to do. It can all too often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and that straying from the to do list will end in disaster andandand…

Take a breath.

Creativity is such a shimmering, multi faceted butterfly of a concept, it’s difficult to pin down and define in any rigid sense. And that’s wonderful if you ask me – the more flexible its parameters, the more accessible and les intimidating it feels. But no matter how you choose to access your creativity – whether through art, reading, cooking, pottery, dance, poetry, theatre, scrapbooking, music, balloon modelling or anything else you can possibly imagine – the benefits it can give your brain (and by extension your business) are enormous.

Notebook with pencil sketches lit by fairy lights

Carving out 15-30 minutes of your day to unleash that butterfly and let yourself create with no agenda other than sheer pleasure will start building your creative muscle memory. You might start by feeling unsure, by questioning the point of this exercise, but gradually it will become a habit – as much a part of your day as brushing your teeth or checking your emails.

Once that happens, you’ll start to find your brain sparks and fizzles. Ideas will arrive when you least expect them to. You’ll need to start keeping a pad and pen by the bed to scribble down the moments of genius that zing into your head at 4am. And as for your content creation – suddenly blog posts and instagram captions will flow from your fingertips as you sit at your computer. Gone are the days of staring at that flashing cursor and feeling like a deer in the headlights.

Day one of the Creativity Advent Calendar: The nights are drawing in. Take a picture of the sunset

Regular ‘just-for-the-hell-of-it’ doses of creativity can bring clarity, focus and flashes of inspiration. As the poet, scholar and legend Maya Angelou once said:

"You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."

So join me in my Creativity Advent Calendar. Let some imagination into your everyday life and see what comes of it – I dare you. You can find the daily prompts over in my Facebook group The Jackdaw’s Nest | Unlock Your Inner Storyteller, and can choose to tackle them each day as they come, or else dip in and out for those that particularly take your fancy. I can’t wait to see you over there.

Day 4 of the Creativity Advent Calendar: Give 5 people in your life a genuine and meaningful compliment