I'm ONE day late, but Happy "National Week of Making," friends! What a wonderful time to celebrate & cherish YOUR unique creative abilities and talents.
When I first heard last week was dedicated to the creatives, I sort of chuckled. You see, lately I feel like I've hit a creative roadblock. I design things day-in and day-out for other people, but rarely do I find time to create just for the fun of it - to paint, or draw, or letter without direction and limitations. Though family and friends never assume this is a problem (since I'm a "creative" in a "creative industry"), in all truth, lack of inspiration is something I struggle with regularly, and I'm confident it's common among professionals in this industry. My personal opinion as to why? Technology.
While modern technology is a blessing for business and personal purposes, living in a world where we are constantly inundated with everyone else's opinions, ideas, and images can make the whole "inspired" thing tough to overcome. Pinterest and blogs are great and can be so helpful, but thinking, imagining, or dreaming up your own concepts becomes incredibly difficult when you are constantly surrounded by information overload.
In honor of this fun week, I'm giving you 7 Tips to Harness your Creativity.
1) Spend time at a bookstore
It's no secret that I love to read, and few things inspire me like wandering through a bookstore. Even just venturing down the aisles and surrounding myself with great authors and wordsmiths lights me up with possibilities. I fully realize this is completely in my character and may not be suited for you, but I encourage you to give it a shot! Beyond just literature, book stores are full of nostalgia and people begging to inspire.
2) Visit a local coffee shop, retailer, or restaurant
Anytime I choose to visit one of my favorite local spots, I always leave feeling refreshed and re-energized. Perhaps it's just the change in environment, but I believe there's something truly invigorating about watching other small business owners live out their passions, don't you agree? From the restroom wallpaper to the typeface on a menu, there is so much inspiration to be had in these local and well-cared-for places.
3) Turn on the tunes
I've always been deeply in-tune (ha - get it?) with music, so when I hit a creative brick wall, it's time to turn up the speakers. I usually create a playlist on Spotify with whatever resonates with me in that moment - sometimes it's worship music, other times it's Bon Iver or Johnnyswim. Regardless of your preference, take a moment to close your eyes and listen without the distractions of your phone, your computer, or your to-do list.
4) Plan a getaway
If you're able to travel by plane, train, or automobile somewhere, I find that travel is easily the BEST way to get and remain inspired. This can be as small as a weekend road trip a few hours down the road or a big trip abroad, but no matter what, a change of environment always sparks new energy. Travel gets you out of your comfort zone, forcing you to open your eyes to things you may not have otherwise recognized.
5) Meet up with someone in another creative industry
No matter what you're going through, I am a BIG proponent of community, but even more so when you're looking for a boost of inspiration. While it is lovely to follow another creative on social media or subscribe to a fellow entrepreneur's newsletter, you are doing yourself a huge injustice by not meeting your fellow creatives in person! Sitting down with a friend to chat about life, interests, hobbies, and everything in between is one of the BEST ways to share energy and get yourself motivated to create! (PS - Anyone want a coffee date? I'm in!)
6) Try a fun activity
Take a class, go on a bike ride, bake a cake - whatever you fancy, I encourage you to try a new activity! Oftentimes, the biggest hurdle to creativity is simply getting out of your head, and a great way to do just that is through a productive distraction. Rather than binge-watch New Girl on Netflix (#guilty), take the time to do something you usually wouldn't. Personally, I've signed up for a Design Challenge this summer, where I'm given 5 faux business to conceptualize just for fun - no rules, regulations, or creative limitations imposed! Just one week in, it has already been such a breath of fresh air and really leaves me inspired.
7) Just start!
There's no better way to say it other than JUST DO IT. Get out your watercolor paints, your brushes, and your canvas and dive right in. Whenever I struggled with writing a paper in college, I found if I abandoned the laptop and took to physical pen and paper, the words would start flowing naturally.
I hope you found this helpful! Working on something creative and fun? I'd love to hear! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org :)