It's really easy for creativity to fall by the wayside - even for those of us who know we have a creative leaning. It's a muscle you have to flex and invest in. And for those who believe they're not creative; it can just be a matter of finding out how creativity applies to them. Few people are so fuelled and naturally pre-disposed to creativity that they never have to feed the beast. So here are some ideas to keep you creative daily - in your practice, embedded in your daily life around all your responsibilities.
01 | Repeat after me..."I am creative."
I'm not into bamboozling you. But the truth is, if you keep saying you're not creative, so it shall be. Whatever you speak out, will be what you hear. So let's change the language and say instead, "I'm still finding what I'm creatively gifted at." And throw some exploration behind it. Pick up a pen or a brush, analyse how you approach problems (Because creative thinking is a HUGE part of creativity), and don't rule anything out until you've tried at least a few times.
Just remember, creative expression is not about being a designer or artist. It's about creating & inventing - and this may take the form of writing, arranging or cooking!
02 | Put 10 minutes aside to read a creative blog. Even a scroll will inspire.
Have daily blogs you visit that you know are sure fire ways to inspire you. Sure Pinterest works for some, but if you want to engage your mind & intellect too, here are some of my favourites.
The Design Files
Art of the Menu (Slightly self indulgent considering what I do but I love it!)
The Dsgn Blog
A daily scroll often finds me down a rabbit hole of Architecture, Interior Design or Fashion blogs. I'd recommend finding 1-5 blogs you love, bookmarking them and scrolling through them when you have 5-10 minutes.
03 | Write a list of simple things that creatively inspire you and weave them into your daily or weekly existence.
Creativity is my job. But often in order to be creatively inspired, I have to engage in wholly unrelated creative activities. These include watching art films that visually & emotionally engage my senses (Some of my favourites include The Painted Veil, Nocturnal Animals, A Single Man, Marie Antoinette and The Piano), arranging flowers, walking & observing, making collages and cross-reading (This isn't an actual term, but I like to read 3 books at any given time as I find that even though they might not relate to one another, the fusion of all three fires up my creative thinking and writing). I know when I'm lacking in my creative tank I just have to turn to these activities to get my creative juices flowing again. And I'm constantly updating that list; never assume that what works for a time will work forever.
04 | Speak to creatives & engage creatives to create for you
Finding avenues to speak to creatives (Interviewing, emailing, blogging & stalking... in the legal sense of course) can be a really good way to get your creative juices flowing. I've taken it one step further and been inspired and motivated by engaging other creatives' to create custom pieces for me; which has in turn, transformed my creative practice and way of thinking. Like any other skill, learning from others you admire in the field is a great way to kick-start your own creative flow. Just beware that if you have a tendency to compare yourself with others, this may not be the best method for you.
05 | If you have children, adopt their creative craziness.
I haven't any children of my own. But I do have nieces and nephews and I learn creative lessons from them all the time. From hearing the way they recount an experience to how staying within the lines is overrated, my nieces and nephews fuel creative experimentation every time I see them. Don't be afraid to get filthy and roll in the mud with a kid. They see life from a whole other quirky perspective - a way of seeing things that adulthood often stamps out of us. (If you don't have any kids in your life, I highly recommend checking out this clip. Made by Flight of The Conchords for Cure Kids, the lyrics are written by kids. I challenge you not to laugh at the way they believe the world works!)
06 | Build experimentation into your week & break with your routine.
Whether you are in a creative job or have a creative side hustle, build experimentation into your week. I like to keep a notepad of ideas & a Pinterest board - both full of outrageous and slightly off-track ideas - that I can return to during experimentation hour. It's work created without agenda and fuelled by pure curiosity. From my experience, it's amazing how much of this experimentation ends up being refined to cross into my mainstream offering. And if you're not in creative work at all, apply this to your cooking, reading or simple daily tasks such as your commute. I set myself a challenge when my office was in Surry Hills, that once a fortnight, I had to find a new way home and take it. It lead to my finding amazing shops, bars & eateries that I'd never seen or heard of before.
07 | Create a mood board for your space
We often think of mood boards as something designers or artists create for their practice. But having a mood board or collage with all the creative magic that inspires you can make a serious impact on creativity in your daily life. Having prominent & visible reminders of what you want to explore and love will help you seek them in your daily routine. When your friend mentions they have bought a lime green VW (Thank you 'Raising Helen' for this reference) and you're incredulous that such a thing exists...how true is it that suddenly you start seeing lime green VW's everywhere. It's the same principle.
Not sure where to start with your mood board? Go to Bunnings and pick out paint colours you love, or a fabric shop and take cuttings. Take tears from magazines or brochures. There is nothing that you could possibly put on your mood board that is wrong. The world is your oyster.
08 | Put a sense of urgency on your creativity.
Deadlines come in thick and fast in the creative industry. There are some pros to this - including the creativity that comes with sheer desperation, needing shortcuts and quick problem solving. Whilst you may not need deadlines, it can be good placing time restrictions or parameters around your creativity to force it in a different direction. I like to liken it to dating; at a given time in life people are happy to just see what happens and who comes along. But once a time limit is put on it or there is a sense of urgency, it's suddenly 7 Tinder dates in 7 days and the stories and experience that come out of a situation like that are immeasurably different to those of a single soul happy to leave it up to chance.
09 | Force yourself into collaboration.
I say 'force' because I think most creatives end up collaborating in one way or another by organic means. This is for people who like to keep to themselves or feel they aren't worthy of being part of a creative collaboration. Collaboration is an uncomfortable experience at times and a rejuvenating & inspiring experience at others depending on who you are joining forces with. Pick your partner in crime wisely but also, like when you pick your partner for life, don't pick your identical twin. Your creativity won't be stretched by someone who does everything like you.
10 | Face your day with an openness to opportunity
Creativity is not relegated to an event or a job. It's all around us and in us. If you wake up and set the intention of looking for creativity or being creative, you've got far greater chance of it making its way into your day. Creativity often requires change or new perspective, so stay open to the unfamiliar and anything that challenges you. Be open to conversations with strangers and new spaces and challenge yourself to go to an event or eatery alone. I can almost promise you that if you persevere, the experience of doing something out of your comfort zone or routine will spark a creative thought or a creative action. And maybe gain you some new haunts and friends!
'Creativity' is so often ascribed to those of us in creative jobs that it can be difficult to remember that we're all blessed with a drop or two of creativity. Don't allow your job - in accounting for example (..although I find that some accountants are incredibly creative in the way they interpret laws at tax time) - to define you or rule you out from living up to your full, creative potential. Everywhere you look, there is beauty to be captured and creative adventures to be had.