I get a lot of questions about creativity, mostly about where my ideas come from and what I do when I just don’t FEEL creative. But here’s the thing… for the most part, creativity is not something I normally struggle with. And the best way I know to climb out of a creative rut is to maintain a creative lifestyle to begin with, so that you can mostly avoid the ruts!
So here’s my list which is basically my lifestyle, presented in no particular order.
1) Talk a walk w/o music– walking at a comfortable pace w/o a DJ’s agenda or having to maintain a conversation can be very liberating.
2) Take pictures– train yourself to be observant by photographing interesting things when you see them.
3) Take a day off from technology– when I really need to concentrate I turn off my email and phone. Try it! It feels a little naughty AND nice!
4) Play with a child– For a total change of pace, it doesn’t get much better than playing with my grandchildren. Children are creative in a totally different and refreshing way and I always come home tired but renewed.
5) Window shop– by this I mean shopping at a leisurely pace for nothing in particular. For me this is best accomplished overseas, but in lieu of that, in antique stores, flea markets, consignment shops or in a new locale (NOT a shopping mall).
6) Look thru old photos– I recently scanned all of my photos from a trip to Israel & uploaded them to Shutterfly to create one of those photo books. The 3 days it took to do so was very pleasurable. It was almost like reliving the trip. 🙂
7) Play an instrument– to play an instrument is to be creative in a alternate way! Since I play in an orchestra, this activity doubles for me as a social outlet and as a collaborative team activity as well!
8) Take time everyday to read– Again, this is an activity that takes place best on a vacation because during normal everyday activities I can’t remember the last time I just sat down in a comfy chair to read a book, but I always read during breakfast and lunch and I always have a book with me to read in a waiting room… mostly business or inspirational titles.
9) Listen to live music– I truly believe that live music relaxes your mind like very little else. It’s difficult to ponder your problems or plans while observing the interesting visual of creative people working together to make beautiful music.
10) Change up your day occasionally– Every now and then I change up my day entirely. I might stay in pajamas all morning and not take a shower until right before dinner. It ALSO feels a little naughty AND nice and I like that!
11) Doodle– similar to free-form writing in that its done almost unconsciously. There’s no plan, and no restrictions. I like to doodle during meetings and sermons etc. It frees me to listen without getting visually distracted.
12) Make lists for everything– I have to-do lists for monthly activities, new patterns chores, trade show tasks and especially packing lists. My lists are so perfected at this point that I can relax knowing I won’t forget important stuff (like paying taxes or bills) which frees my brain up for creative thought.
13) Hang out or collaborate with creative people– Creativity is contagious… did you know that? You might think that being around other creatives could be intimidating but no… at least for me, it’s totally inspiring. Sure, I’m tired when I come home from Quilt Market for example, but I’m also chomping at the bit to get back “at it”. I usually come back with so many ideas that I can’t decide which to do first. It’s a wonderful feeling!
14) Clean, organize or redecorate your work space– No one’s ever accused me of being a clean freak (ask my Mom, or on second thought, please DON’T), but I’m very distracted by a cluttered and unorganized environment.
15) Sleep late on purpose– I’m normally very regimented in my sleeping habits, but every once in a while I let myself “sleep in”, (another naughty but nice treat).
16) Carry a notebook everywhere– and I do mean everywhere because you never know when inspiration will strike and if you don’t write it down you risk forgetting it.
17) Work in a different location, outside if possible– If I’m working on my laptop I can actually work on the screened porch or in the backyard under a tree and it’s such a fun treat!
18) Drink a large amount of your favorite caffeinated beverage– it’s a yummy treat AND it’s a great way to stay on task and get a LOT of busy work done. I have to make sure I do this prior to 1pm in the afternoon though, or I’ll be up half the night!
19) Keep an inspiration notebook/board– (Not to be confused with #16) I bought a beautiful bound book on a trip and I keep pictures and clippings in it of various things I find visually inspiring, ie; color combinations, fabric swatches, fashion trends… whatever strikes my fancy at the time. I don’t feel the need to look at it much, mostly just when I add something new, but it’s a tactile activity that’s helpful at times.
20) Write or sketch with a pen/pencil and paper– for some reason, writing with a computer just doesn’t feel as creative as the “old-fashioned way”. I’ve actually made it a habit of writing the 1st draft of my pattern instructions as well as the initial sketches with pencil and paper. I like the scratchy sound a pencil makes on paper and the smell of the soft lead. I even like the eraser shavings all over my work area when I’m done! It just makes me feel like an artist and a writer, which is what I fancy myself to be. 🙂
So…. Now it’s YOUR turn!
Does anything on this list resonate with you? Did you see anything that there that you could incorporate into your routine to help you maintain YOUR creativity? Or perhaps there are other habits you’ve developed that keep YOUR creative juices flowing! If so, please feel free to share your ideas in the space provided below.
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