Jan Cornall has written 15 plays and musicals, a feature film, a novel (Take Me To Paradise) and a collection of poems and stories (Archipelagogo). She has received multiple awards and grants, and has taught writing in Australian universities and internationally.
There’s a general impression that we become less creative as we age, but in your experience, is it possible to become more creative?
Yes, definitely. All we need to do is find a way to return to the state of unbridled playfulness we experienced as children. As adults we may feel a bit silly at first, but I can guarantee once you start messing around with creativity you won’t want to stop.
What’s one daily writing ritual that keeps your creativity flowing?
Find a place to rest in stillness for a few moments. Focus your eyes and observe the first thing you see. Keep your eyes at a close radius and notice every detail until you feel the impulse to write. Keep writing for 10 minutes. Do this observation exercise any time your writing is lagging. You can do it even without the writing bit. Observing the up-close detail of things around you brings you right into the present moment, which is always the most creative place to write from.
You’ve traveled extensively, leading writing workshops around the world. How does travel help to develop creativity?
Creativity is always stimulated in moments of ‘waking up’. Travel is one long experience of waking up to new colours, smells, tastes, sounds, sights. When we look at things afresh with a ‘beginner’s mind’, creative mind will always follow.
Learn how to Ignite Your Creative Fire with Jan over six Wednesday evenings, 26 April; 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 May, 6:30pm-9:30pm at the NSW Writers’ Centre.