Me outside my studio here in Otaihanga on the Kāpiti Coast, getting ready for the 2021 Arts Trail.

Are you ready to get creative?

My ‘168 Days of Magic’ studio programme kicks off again in February 2022! This is a 6-month journey that combines mindfulness, creativity and productivity – and is perfect for anyone wanting to relax, nurture their own creativity and get stuck into a creative project or side hustle.

Why get stuck into your own creative project?

There are so many reasons to get creative!

This article confirms  that creative projects transfer energy and demonstrates passion. ‘In addition to new inventions and products of value, creativity brings joy to our world. Creative projects often make us smile, whether we are in the audience or in the creator’s seat. We work hard on creative projects because they are meaningful and important to us.

Kevan Lee writes on Lifehacker about why creative side projects are good for you, stating that spending your time in this way can make you happier, healthier, and more productive. Kevan explains that when Google began its famous 20 percent rule (employees could spend 20 percent of their time exploring fun, passionate side projects), the result was a more productive, more creative 80 percent. Side projects boosted work performance.

There’s been research to back up this phenomenon, says Lee. San Francisco State psychology professor Dr. Kevin Eschleman and his colleagues measured the effect of creative hobbies on over 400 employees. In two separate groups—one rated by coworkers and one self-rated—those with a creative hobby were more likely to be helpful, collaborative, and creative with their job performance.

 What could your project about about?

That’s completely up to you! Its ok if you just have a vague idea coming in to the programme. There will time for you to explore, define and refine your ideas. Then idea is that you’ll find something that you’re keen to explore over six months. Here are some examples of great creative projects or side hustles to explore

  • writing a book or a series of short stories
  • Creating a garden
  • creating a series of illustrations
  • Creating a daily journal
  • launching a digital magazine or blog
  • Writing a screenplay
  • Creating a series of collages or sketches
  • Painting a series of artworks
  • Producing a documentary or video series
  • Designing a range of products
  • Creating a fashion label or brand
  • Decorating a room in your house
  • Writing your personal life story
  • Producing a podcast

What does the 168 Days of Magic programme include?

The programme is 6 months in length, and includes:

  • 6 x monthly half-day studio workshops
  • 1 x creative coaching session with me, your guide, host and creative champion
  • 6 x monthly online group sessions for brainstorming creative projects

So that means there is structure to the programme, but also a huge amount of flexibility in terms of what you want your project to be. It could be big or small, and you might want to work on it an hour a week or five days a month – whatever works for you is what will make a good creative project.  As I run this studio programme, I’m also working on my own creative project and talking with other experts to get insights on how to best manage work-life balance, wellbeing and getting things done.

Need some inspiration? Check out the 168 Days of Magic podcast – first episodes out now!

 This first series of the podcast features Kapiti and Wellington-based creatives, coaches and experts sharing their knowledge, their journey and their expertise. I’m also talking about the creative project that I’ve been working on in 2021 – which is a series of illustrations for my second indie-published novel.  There’s a definite ‘wellness’ theme to the podcast, I talk to an amazing group of talented women who work as coaches, healing and wellness practitioners because I believe the journey of creativity is also a journey of wellness – and how better to enrich our journey than having other experts provide nourishing insights!

A bit about my own creative project

I’m working to create a series of illustrations for my second indie-published novel. I’m looking to create a unique style of visuals by integrating two different types of creative output – paintings and doodles. I’m hoping to improve my creative skills as I go, explore more of my ideas around sound, circles, language, and other-world communication and types of intelligence. Below is shows the first illustration I’ve been working on, as well as a few progress shots. Only fifteen more to go! 🙂