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How over preparing can kill your creativity

I started to write this for my book camp ladies then decided to turn it into a blog post.


Even though it's pertaining to the lead up to book camp, there are still some helpful tips around over preparing which in my experience, can actually end up working against you.


What you can expect to learn at book camp

The idea of book camp is to cut loose, experiment and develop your own art practices. If I give too much direction and information then you’ll naturally prepare based on those instructions. This means you come ‘prepared’. While there’s nothing wrong with that to a certain degree, the aim of camp is to encourage you into new areas of creating. Sometimes not knowing what you’re going to do next when it comes to creating is where the very best magic happens.


How to avoid being ‘over-prepared’

If you prepare too fully your work can become a little ‘contrived’ and predictable. Whereas working with what you’ve got at the time encourages the student to explore options and use materials in a way in which they might not if they already had an idea of what they wanted. Bring what's on the list and then trust yourself to add in what you feel you'd like with you. Then let go of any expectations or ideas of outcomes by creating! Now! Distract yourself and enjoy the lead up to book camp.


Each student is invited to..

Cutting loose in art invites you to feel the freedom art offers you. If you’re holding on too tightly to an idea or a format then you’re less likely to go off exploring.

After all, as Mark Twain says,


Last year at Book Camp...

Teresa, one of the book campers came to me with an old dictionary I’d been given. She loved the cover and wanted to use it to create a tunnel book. As I was more interested in the insides, I was happy to let go of the cover.

She soon realised the pages in her pack weren't the same size as the cover so naturally assumed she'd have to cut the cover down. She was disappointed as she loved the cover as it was. When I pointed out it wasn't the only option her face lit up! I invited her to make her pages longer to fit the cover. So she set about sewing off-cuts onto the tops and bottoms of the pages. She was so excited when she realised she could have want she wanted and how original her book was turning out to be!

Here's the result of this gorgeous book. Teresa admitted it wouldn’t have been created had she not fallen in love with the cover of the dictionary. The book led her along and she went willingly along with it. This, is the key point to this post!

OOOH but I feel like I need a safety net!

Yes, it can feel quite scary not knowing what’s in front of you, what the next step is when you’re creating, however, you won't be alone!


That’s where I come in as a teacher

I fully trust the process and I know there will be an answer. When you immerse yourself into creating without any plans or expectations, It really is where the magic happens. I want you to get the best out of book camp, so the first step is trusting me as your teacher.

ha ha ha! I couldn't resist this GIF!


I’ll leave you with this to think about….

Yes, there’s always a touch of ‘oh if I’d known I could have brought this that and the other with me' yes, you could, but what are you going to do instead that will lead you down new and intriguing paths? There will also be 13 others (+ me) creating alongside you, all with a tonne of resources. To let go and create without judgement is the ultimate. To push the artistic boundaries within yourself is wild! To surround yourself with a group of creative souls acts like a healing balm.

This is what you've signed up for ladies! Now go off and play!

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