5 Steps to Get the Creative Juices Flowing
Ever just been utterly blocked? Be it when you're sitting writing an essay for class or brainstorming ideas for your next photo shoot - being creative is freaking hard. I have this just dandy skill of overthinking absolutely everything I do that's even remotely artistic, leading to plenty of struggles in the department of creating. These are the things I do to get past the blank-mind-hurdle.
1. Take a breath and do things badly. As I mentioned, I have a tendency to go totally perfectionist and wind up getting nothing done as a result. I once didn't feel prepared for an exam after accidentally crashing early the night before. I honestly considered withdrawing from the course (I had my counselors number literally typed into my phone) rather than risking doing worse than ideal on a test. A big way that I get around my flight-tendencies is to simply force myself to do things badly. Be it going on a photo shoot when I know I utterly lack direction or writing an article draft that lacks inspiration. I make journal spreads that are far less cohesive than I expect and yet somehow the world keeps spinning. Though the work isn't my best, I try anyways rather than running through the excuses. Now I have a springboard for the work I am proud of and usually, things are far more put together than I've convinced myself they are.
2. Look back at some of your old work. Along with the perfectionism, tends to be an endless battle with self-confidence. Getting into a rut sometimes just means you've lost trust in yourself. Sometimes, I have to take a look back at my portfolio just to build up my courage a little bit. Reminding yourself through tangible evidence that you are a creative person can honestly make all the difference.
3. Pause for a moment. Every so often we just get to that point where creative exhaustion takes root. At this point, it's time to refuel. It can be hard to know when you're in a rut vs. actually in need of a break but with practice, you'll learn your limits. Practice learning what recharge methods work best for you and go from there. Taking effective breaks requires learning a lot about yourself and what inspires you but the better you get, the more improvement you will see in all forms of your work.
4. Create an outline. At times, lack of creativity can simply stem from not actually knowing where you want to go with things. When it comes to writing, trying to do anything without an outline is all but pointless. I will quite literally stare at a page for hours without accomplishing anything of worth. When I skip that and make a decent outline, the process is not only far quicker but my writing improves drastically. I write more accurate transition sentences, I can analyze things for relevance, and my overall thesis is far better supported. For photos, this is trying to think about the purpose of the image or what the composition should look like. Thinking about the direction you want your work to take allows your creativity to flow easier and can improve the reception of your work tenfold.
5. Learn or try something new. New ideas, I was always taught, are simply the synthesis of two old ones. Take some time for something new and who knows, maybe it will help you come up with that grand new idea you've been searching for. Using skills you learn all across the board to apply to different outlets is one of the best ways to be unique and improve. Learning something is yet another way of getting those creative juices flowing.
And on that note, go forward and create beautiful things with peace of mind and a sense of purpose.