Jump Starting Creativity
By Lady Lazarus on September 08, 2012
“OOOOHhhh, where’d you get that, what is that, that is so freakin cool!” I should be more modest, but I have to confess: I’m fabulous. My clothes, my bags, my jewelry, everything is a triumph of style. As a fashion plate, I hear this all the time. Everyone wants to Instagram, Pintrest, or Polyvore my every look….
Meanwhile, in the real world. I have been lucky enough to get a few compliments lately on some creative stuff I do, and I have noticed that after those compliments the inevitable happens. “Oh, I wish I was that creative!”
That makes me a little sad, since anyone can and should be creative in their own lives. Art is for everybody, and you can do more than you think. Sometimes you need a little direction, though, so I’ve collected my favorite creativity tips for you here:
- Write, draw, record
It doesn’t matter much how you do it, but keep a journal. Or a sketchbook. Or a blog. Something that you can regularly update. And, most importantly, let it be something you enjoy. Don’t like doing the old “Dear Diary” thing? Well don’t! Write punk lyrics with sharpies on old magazines! Start a Tumblr of pictures of abandoned asylums and use it to draft your poems! Make like Da Vinci and write backwards! A journal space will give you a space to try out new ideas or techniques without having to invest much time, which will help you get used to trying new things, which reminds me…
- Try something you wouldn’t
So my thing is jewelry. I love making it, and I make a lot of it. Every so often, I get bored with what I’m doing, and I start to feel like I’m making the same earrings over and over and over. So I thumb through some of my favorite artists’ blogs, or google image search, or check out an art book from the library. I’ll pick a technique that I normally wouldn’t go for, and I give it a try. And sometimes it sucks. But sometimes it doesn’t. When it works, it’s like I’ve leveled up as a crafter! New things force you to adapt and be creative.
- Use what you have on hand…at first
As much as I like giving new stuff a whirl, I like to limit myself, too. When you give yourself less to work with, sometimes creativity blooms. You know Haiku, the little 3 line poems, with a 5-7-5 pattern of syllables? People have been writing amazing haiku for centuries, inspired by the very limitations that seem to make them impossible. How to translate that to your life? Say you’re into photography, and you looooove taking pictures of animals. All types, all scenes, all sizes, whatever – you can’t get enough. Try doing one species for a while. Or one color. Or even one animal. Just put some strict limits on your thing for a little while, and see what you do to meet your challenge!
- Look at what what’s around you
“Oh, here’s my street, my school, my house. It’s boring, I’m used to it.” BAH! Everywhere you are has awesome details! Don’t let me catch you rolling your eyes. Take those pupils and train them on a new perspective. What does that convenience store look like during a sunrise? How do those pigeons sound? How does the rain feel on your hands?
Learn to observe your environment closely. The more sensory details you notice, the more you will be able to incorporate into your creative life. Protip: this goes hand in hand with journaling. Some days, all I write are lists of cars that pass or smells I encounter on my street.
- Keep your workspace cool
That doesn’t just mean temperature, although staying comfy helps. If you have a dedicated space for you to do your creative stuff, keep it looking and feeling and smelling nice. I made the mistake of having a plain, frumpy space for a while, and I wondered why I didn’t do anything in there! Once I cleaned it and only kept a handful of inspiring things, I did so much more.
Don’t be afraid to hang up your own art work, or art you like. Keep a few meaningful objects in there. Make it a space you like being in.
There’s no one magic pill to being more creative, just retraining your brain to observe things differently, and to appreciate all your senses. The more you take into that busy brain means the more ideas you have at your disposal, whether your thing is blogging, knitting, or organic marsupial puppetry.