Try these five strategies for unleashing your creativity.
We’ve all been there, and maybe more often than we care to admit. Whether it’s at the computer, in front of the classroom, or standing before a blank canvas, we’ve all had that feeling that we have absolutely nothing more to say. Worse, we may feel that we have nothing fresh or original to contribute, as though the well of inspiration has dried up, with nothing more to follow. And although we may have been in this place before—and successfully overcome it—it’s a disconcerting feeling. It’s a problem that can be easily overcome, however, with five simple techniques that will energize your life with fresh inspiration.
The first and most important technique is also the simplest: allocate time for inspiration in your calendar every day. If the workday is already wall-to-wall with commitments, be creative in keeping this appointment with your muse. Take a half-hour from your lunch break, or get up half-an-hour earlier in the morning. Making time for inspiration and fresh ideas makes the difference between an ordinary work day and one that brims with enthusiasm.
To keep that enthusiasm, read and collect information in your field. Subscribe to RSS feeds with articles about your field of interest, and develop an expertise on a current trend in your profession. Keep notes on books you have read, and lists of books you would like to read some day. Read widely, too: the more information you take in, the more connections you will be able to see from the fields of science, art, politics, and business: everything is a vehicle for inspiration, and everything is directly relevant to the world we live in now.
Find a community—whether virtual or real—of like-minded people. The energy of one person is amazing, but the energy of two or more is awesome. The chance to learn from new perspectives and different experiences will enrich your life at every level, and spark new ideas—and often new opportunities—as well.
Take classes and stretch your skills. For a lifetime of creativity, devote a lifetime to learning. Even masters of a craft take classes from other masters, each enriching the other’s knowledge. In a similar vein, if you have an expertise in something, share it. Teaching others what you know is another way to stay in creative flow, as you think about how to best share the information you have with others.
Keep inspirational journals and files for reference. Sketchbooks filled with pictures of potential projects, appealing images, and quick drawings are an invaluable way to store inspiration for a rainy day. Collections of quotes, poems, articles and other writing can function as a storehouse of ideas to be reviewed and pulled out as needed. Invest time in creating these resources, and they will pay you back in spades.
To be our best creatively, we all need regular infusions of inspiration. Filling the well of our imagination is something that can get lost in the business of day-to-day life, but it is just as important to take the time to do so as it is any other task on the to-do list. By taking the time to take care of the muse, inspiration will always be at hand.
By Julie Moberly