Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity - Linda Naiman

 I got an email from one of my readers, and because I felt like we have all been in a creative rut at some time during our lives, I decided to post this question for all to see [with her permission of course].
Dear Nikole,

First let me say how much I love your blog.....what stands out to me is how creative you are with your do it yourself projects, blog topics, jewelry and photography. I am an aspiring artist and I have a hard time really being creative and feeling good about my work. Did you take any classes? Is there something I can do because I feel uninspired right now. HELP!

MT (from Maryland)
I think we all have our times where we feel uninspired, I personally feel like that from time to time. To be honest, I needed a boost of inspiration last week because I just felt out of it. I think that is perfectly normal. The key is to not let your feelings debilitate progress. You have to learn how to snap-out-of-it sort to speak. When I run into a creative stumbling block I usually do a few things;

 - Organize my workspace
 - Relax. Take about 5 minutes to just sit. Try not to plan, or deliberate on the days events. I find it best if I have a clear mind prior to pursuing any creative task

  - Break the monotonous cycle - If you take the same way home everyday, take a different way. If you normally start working on projects during the day, start at night. Listen to different music, the avenues for change are endless. Open your eyes to new sights, and your ears to new sounds. I have to switch things up occasionally because repetition really bores me.

- Don't be afraid to break the rules - I really used to be stuck on "rules" on "precedents", the "who did it before me and how they did it". Now don't get me wrong, I do believe there is a right and wrong way to do things within reason. However, from my experience I am normally in my most creative state when I am able to practice free thought.
- Let go of needing to have it perfect - I missed out on so many opportunities because I had to have everything perfect. It doesn't sound like a bad problem to have, however if I were to look back at the projects I started [that were never completed, or scrapped completely] they all have one very common denominator. I felt they weren't good enough. It didn't matter the hours, weeks, or days I put into a project, I always found an excuse NOT TO LAUNCH it. If you keep striving for perfection before you complete something, you may never complete it. Looking back on it, it wasn't that I was producing crappy work, I was just afraid of failure. Which leads me to my next tip.

- Don't be afraid to fail - I hate the word fail. I like to refer to it as learning. When some are afraid to fail, they are hesitant on taking that next step. Being creative and stepping out on your own takes faith! You must really close your eyes and step out on that limb even though a safety net isn't guaranteed. Furthermore, you can't be afraid of falling. I look at it like this, if I fall, I get back up and I am better equipped to do it much better next time.

- Choose your friends wisely - This is a touchy one. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there that are very comfortable with the status quo. So much so that anyone out there that has beliefs other than their ideologies are looked at as radicals, or dreamers [and oftentimes we aren't supported by those friends]. I don't know how many times I have shared dreams with friends and have heard: "girl, you crazy".

I truly believe that we should try to position ourselves around people and places that exude positive energy. Try to build with like minds, it's always good to exchange ideas with others that can offer a fresh new perspective on things.

- Be yourself, everyone else is already taken - Don't try to duplicate something someone has already done. If you like it, use it as inspiration. Do your interpretation of what inspires you, as you will surely have a different take on it. You will appreciate it a lot more, and so will your audience.

- It's ok to be inspired by others - It gets the creative juices flowing! Start an inspiration board if you haven't already. I have an inspiration sketchbook I take with me everywhere, in it I have tearsheets, scribbles, fabric swatches, doodles, and random pictures. I find it easier to look at pictures to get inspiration vs making a list of all the things I want to do.

Check out some of these cool inspiration boards/work-spaces I found.

I hoped this has helped you, or others out there that are trying to work through that creative rut. Also, here are a few books that I recommend checking out in your spare time;

The Creative Habit - Learn It and Use It For Life


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