Nurture your creativity
Over the years, I’ve developed ways to nurture my creativity. Some things I learnt at art college, while others I’ve been carrying out since working freelance. I like to view creativity as I do houseplants, both need to be cared for in order to grow!
Today I’m sharing a few things I do to ensure there’s a continual flow of ideas. Things that keep my motivation levels up and the creative block at bay. We all find inspiration in different ways and so it’s wise to establish what works best for you. As an extrovert, I like to spend time with people and see lots of new things. I also avoid taking on too much work and I give myself enough time off, especially between jobs.
By making space in our lives, doing what we love and injecting a little newness, we can keep things moving. And engaging in different experiences and activities is sometimes all it takes to enable ideas to bloom. After all, no one really knows when inspiration will strike!
Pause to enjoy the simple things
Often when we hit a wall with our creativity all we need to do is stop what we’re doing and take a break. Moving away from where we create, even if it’s just for an hour, can help us to see things more clearly. After all, they say a change is as good as a rest.
A break could include making a cup of tea, playing some music, meditating or even doing a few stretches. Pausing and refocusing the mind on another activity will reset the balance, giving a fresh perspective on what you’re doing. And getting into the habit of taking regular breaks is a healthy way to work. (More: five everyday rituals for a calm and mindful day.)
Step back in time
A great thing any creative can do is look back at what has gone before. After all, we’re all standing on the shoulders of giants! Whatever your passion there will almost certainly be an unlimited supply of work you can dip into. You could visit libraries, museums, art galleries or even attend a lecture.
There isn’t a secret formula to unlocking creativity. It can come in a multitude of different forms and everything and anything can inspire. Whether you want to dip into the work of the French impressionists, be dazzled by some pop art or get lost in a little conceptualism, spending an hour or two in a different era is an inspiring thing to do.
Taking time out to nurture your body and mind can work wonders. And immersing yourself in the great outdoors is an uplifting way to get the creative juices flowing. Nature and fresh air are good for the soul and a change of scenery can open your eyes to new ideas. When I’m out I like to look at everything around me – people, nature, houses, shop windows and so on. There’s so much wonder in our everyday lives to enjoy.
Travel is also extremely inspiring. Exploring a new location is an exciting way to spark ideas. If a holiday isn’t possible how about visiting somewhere new where you live? It could be a tourist attraction, antique centre, a few pretty shops or even a restaurant you haven’t yet tried. The secret is to notice everything like you’re seeing the world for the very first time. Being mindful will truly enrich the experience and who knows what exciting ideas may emerge!
Experiment with other forms of creativity
Engaging in other forms of creativity, for example, a different technique or medium can be beneficial. Experimenting can help us to view what we do from a fresh perspective and it’s fun to create without a brief or agenda. You may also find you benefit from meeting a fellow creative. Working alongside others enables us to share our creativity while helping one another along the way. Sometimes all it takes is a sidestep to see our work more clearly. (More: the inspiration and joy of creative friendships.)
There’s also a lot of value in observing other forms of creativity. You could watch a ballet, attend a music concert or take in a play. All these things will help to get some distance between you and your work. And everything has the potential to inspire. Especially seeing talent and dedication in others.
It’s tricky to trace inspiration to one source because ideas come from a myriad of different places. Conversations around the breakfast table, people-watching in a local café or even shopping with a friend. It’s, therefore, valuable to nurture relationships while also meeting new people. Friendly interactions make us feel good and feeling happy and content can help creativity to flow.
Discussing our creative work is also valuable. Sharing our thoughts can bring them to life and if we’re struggling with an idea we may even find we reach a quicker solution. I’ve certainly benefitted from meeting fellow business owners and freelancers. And it’s good to know I’m not alone with the struggles I’ve faced!
Listen to your inner voice
I’m a firm believer in seeking inspiration from life rather than online. I guess this is because I started creating before the internet was with us and I can’t imagine working in any other way. I also find it distracting especially when there’s so much activity. And so, I take a break as often as I can. (More: the joy of spending time offline.)
Taking time out to quiet the mind enables us to silence the ego and listen to our heart and intuition. Sometimes our thoughts can become lost by the noise of the world around us. So much so we may find we start to follow the ideas, goals and dreams of others. Or worse still end up creating a version of someone else’s work! Having a few minutes of quiet calm can enable us to hear what’s happening within. This could either be through meditation or by spending short periods of time offline. Either way, it can help us to follow our creative journey and what’s truly in our hearts. (More: six things I gained from a year of mindfulness and meditation.)
Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have a gorgeous day.
Parts of this text originally appeared in Breathe, issue five.