A confluence of events has me thinking a lot about creativity these days. Just a couple weeks ago, I submitted a book proposal to a publisher (all body parts crossed!) and as I was writing the proposal and its sample chapters, I was reminded about the intricacies of my own creative process. In just a couple weeks, we’re hosting our annual Equinox retreat at Triple Play Farm and the focus of that retreat is creativity. And, finally, Happy just started kindergarten which gives me a couple more hours each day to work and so I am dipping more deeply into the things that fire up my creativity to build this next phase of my life.
A lot of people think creativity is something you either have or you don’t, but the reality is that we all our creative and use our creativity daily- from organizing a project to getting dressed in the morning. While each of us is inherently creative, it may not feel all that easy. But here’s the good news: no matter how much of a stretch being creative feels, it is always possible to build your creative capacity and enhance every part of your life. Try these seven tips for a creative booster shot.
OCCUPY YOUR MIND (JUST A LITTLE BIT). Have you ever noticed that your most brilliant ideas happen in the shower? You aren’t just imagining that. The act of showering is just active enough to turn off your hyper-vigilant inner-censor without being so mind-exhausting to numb your inner creative. Hence, when you are doing something that loosely occupies your mind- driving, walking, showering, cooking a familiar meal, washing the dishes- your inner creative will often blurt its idea out to you because it knows that you will be more receptive. Give yourself time everyday to work your conscious mind just a little bit so your subconscious, dreamy side can make itself heard.
TREAT YOURSELF TO AN ARTIST’S DATE. I learned this concept years ago from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and I still love the idea. Give yourself a block of time (an hour is enough) each week to take yourself out on a date to scope for inspiration. From browsing a book or antique store to checking out children’s artwork at the local library, inspiration is everywhere.
SPROUT SOMETHING The Artist Date is all about inspiration. Sometimes the best way to instigate your own creativity is to be inspired by someone else’s. Check out some visual art or a poem that strikes you and create your own art from it. If you are using a painting, create your own piece inspired by a technique, an idea, or an image that you found in the work you select. If a poem is on your mind, take one line from it and write your own poem with it.
PUSH PAST FALSE FATIGUE. It is so easy to give in when we feel blocked and, yet, if we could just persevere past the block, we often reach the sweetest stuff. If you are a painter, set an aggressive quota like 50 5 inch by 7 inch paintings. If you are a writer, your quota might be 2000 words or 15 poems. Even if your inner-censor is telling you that the work you are producing is awful, keep going. Proving that you have quantity in you really does boost your quality.
CAPTURE YOUR INSPIRATION Start gathering inspiration from magazines, catalogs or anywhere else and display it all on an inspiration board. You can use a cork board, foam board or a poster board to capture anything that inspires or strikes you. When you are hungering for an idea, go to your inspiration board, take it all in, and see where it leads you.
GET SCHOOLED. Sign up for a class that will challenge you to think differently. From oil painting to Italian cooking, there are so many educational experiences that can give your creativity a spark.
DO NOT GET CAUGHT UNPREPARED. There is nothing worse than having an idea and not having a way to capture it. Carry a small notebook in your purse to record ideas and quotes that strike you or capture turns of phrases or little fragments of ideas with your smart phone voice recorder so that you never lose a good idea- not even while you are driving!
What are your strategies for nurturing your creative side?
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