Whether you’re in a creative field professionally or not, creativity is one of the most important parts of being human. No matter what outlet or form it takes, creative expression allows us to explore and understand our thoughts, experiences, and deeper impressions in a way that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Being creative helps us construct our own world and explore the way it looks through our eyes. We experience so many things every day, have millions of thoughts and feelings, and creative expression is the main way we’re able to get all of these ideas out of our heads. Spending time focusing on your own perspective can help you understand yourself and the world better, as well as increase your confidence; the more time you spend listening to your own deeper thoughts, the more you will come to realize that the way you view the world and the ideas you have are unique and important!
Getting In Touch With Your Creative Side
Creativity is important, but how do we get started? It can be so difficult to get motivated, or even know where to begin. If you’re feeling stuck, stagnant, or just feel lost without a routine, here are a few tips to start building creativity.
Try the “Blurt” Method
When you’re getting into a creative mode, one of the most important things to do is silence your inner critic. We’re so accustomed to editing ourselves and thinking about what others will think of us. But when we’re creating, we need to learn to let this voice go and give up on trying to control everything. Not every first idea will be brilliant, but getting them all out is the most important thing at first. In her writing book Bird By Bird, author Anne Lamott talks about the importance of a “sh*tty first draft.” She says that nobody, not even the most acclaimed authors, sit down and spin gold on their first try. The most important thing is simply to sit down and start. “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something— anything— down on paper.” The first draft is for getting everything down, she says, and the editing and fixing and polishing comes later.
This is true of any creative pursuit, not just writing. Whether you’re just starting out or have been pursuing an art form for years, don’t let yourself get caught up in trying to be perfect. This is where the “Blurt” method comes in. If you’re trying to write something, simply sit down with a pen and paper and just write down whatever comes to mind without trying to self edit. The important thing is getting everything out so that later you can make connections. If you’re drawing, just let your pen or pencil wander, creating whatever shapes are appealing to you until it starts turning into something you want to create. If you’re dancing, just start moving, and if you’re singing or writing music just start with the sounds you feel like creating. Trust the process and know that even when these first attempts are messy, they’re simply the first steps towards something that’s going to be great.
Keeping a journal is a great way to keep track of your thoughts and feelings each day. We experience so many things every day; simply getting down a record of things that happen and the way they make you feel can be so helpful. Not only does it help provide a record of your life to turn to when you’re looking for inspiration but it will also train you to be more mindful throughout your days, remembering more and more things that are significant or interesting.
Designate A Time For Creativity
In this day and age, distractions are hard to escape from. We have screens with us at all times, vying for our attention and eating away at our time. One of the easiest ways to get more creative is just to make it more of a priority. Set a time for creativity every day (or every week, whatever feels right) where you put all distractions aside, turn your phone off, and put your whole energy into being creative. The more often you commit to this kind of schedule, the more your mind will start to catch on and get used to switching into creative mode on command.
Time and time again, we’ve seen that moving around is one of the best ways to problem solve and get creative. The physical act of moving helps us feel like we’re moving through whatever obstacles or blocks we’re experiencing in our minds. As soon as you start moving, something you’ve been trying to work out for hours with no success might suddenly become clear and straightforward. Whether it’s pacing around your house or getting out for a jog, putting your body in motion can help your brain make new connections. When we spoke to author Alex Kahler about his process, he shared that going for a long walk was one of his favorite methods for engaging his creativity.
Revisit Your Favorite Work
It can seem counterintuitive to look at someone else’s work when you’re trying to create something original, but getting in touch with something you truly love can be a great place to start if you’re feeling stuck. Whether it’s a favorite book, movie, painting or song, pay attention to what you love about it and how it makes you feel. This can often help reveal more about what you’re hoping to create, giving you some inspiration for the feelings you hope to invoke with your own work.
Try A New Medium
A great way to invite more creativity into your life is to switch things up. If you’re used to drawing or painting, see what writing a brief essay or piece of prose unlocks for you. If you’re more of a writer and less of a visual person, getting loose with some watercolors or experimenting with an instrument could give you fresh inspiration or a fresh sense of satisfaction.
Learn About Something New
If you’re feeling fresh out of ideas, it can be helpful to stock up on inspiration. Pick up a book about a new subject, put on a documentary or even just dive into something new on Wikipedia. You never know what new piece of inspiration will spark a new idea or connect to something you’ve been pondering for a while.
Pick Up A Book About Creativity
There are so many great books about engaging your creativity; why not seek out advice from the experts?
In Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and City of Girls, shares about her creative process and encourages readers in discovering their own regardless of their life path. This book is full of encouragement to embrace creativity, break free from the fear of failing, and find the special magic within each of us.
Steal Like An Artist is a great book with tons of bite-sized pieces of advice for readers who like books that are a bit less linear. Stocked with tons of quotes, analogies and explainers, this books is perfect to pick up whenever you’re looking for a fresh dash of inspiration.
Just like with any other practice, self care in creativity is vital. Stacie Bloomfield’s guide provides the perfect reminder to not take our mistakes too seriously. Full of gorgeous illustrations and stories, this book can help you remember to take a breath and hold love for yourself as well as the creative process.
Who better to consult on the process of creativity than one of the creators of Monty Python? As a lifelong writer, John Cleese has so many pearls of wisdom to lend about getting into a creative mindset and embracing inspiration. Without being too long or overbearing, this book is a fun yet practical aid for having fun with inventing something new.
No matter what format, medium or venue you’re drawn to, creativity has something to offer each one of us. It can help us learn more about ourselves. give us an outlet to express ideas that are hard to pin down and it can give us an escape from everyday life. I hope some of these tips help you capture the magic of creativity in your own life.