The hardest part of any endeavor is always the beginning.
And for some reason, the process of expressing ourselves creatively is often filled with more procrastination and difficulty than nearly any other pursuit. What is it about sitting down to create something that seems to draw resistance like a magnet?
If you’ve been struggling to nurture your creative spirit or feel stuck in an artistic rut, take heart: these five ideas will help you get a jump-start on recovering your inspiration.
1. Establish a disciplined creative routine.
You know the way your mouth starts to water when you sit down in front of pasta primavera? Your body knows it’s time to eat because it is trained to associate certain smells and sights with meal time. My mind and body know I’m going into creative mode when I cue up Alanis Morissette, shake on some peppermint essential oil and pop a few chocolate espresso beans. As unspontaneous as it sounds, repeating sensory habits helps create an association between creativity and action. Adopt a ritual prior to creating, and soon, your focus will transition more naturally.
2. Refresh your mental library.
Creative output is essentially the culmination of whatever experiences you take in. If you’ve been listening to the same playlists for months (or in some cases, years), it’s time to shake it up. Invite fresh inspiration by pursuing new music, TED Talks and blogs. Change things up, and watch the creativity flow.
3. Watch other artists create art.
Once a month, visit an art museum or local exhibition. Take a walk in a public park and look for people sketching their surroundings. Ask a friend to cook a meal together. Attend a spoken word poetry event. Sit for a life drawing class. Being around creativity yields creativity, it’s contagious!
By training yourself to cultivate creativity instead of sitting back and waiting for genius to strike, you will become the most dangerous kind of artist—one who doesn’t need a perfect set of circumstances to produce art.
4. Create when you feel like it.
When you are deeply moved by something, take hold of that opportunity to materialize the thought, emotion or moment into art. Truth is, most of us tell ourselves that we will remember a beautiful revelation — but how many of us actually do? When inspiration draws close, honor the gift of creativity and turn that concept into something tangible. You will never regret doing this.
5. Create when you don’t feel like it.
Enough has been spoken about the importance of not waiting until you feel completely capable. The same goes with art. There is a difference between pushing into resistance and forcing something, but the majority of the time, creativity is like a stalled car that just needs a little coaxing to get going. Getting it moving is the hardest part, but once the momentum has begun it’s hard to hinder its force. If you are feeling creatively dry, commit to simply sitting with a project for ten minutes. If the time passes and nothing comes, walk away. Odds are; however, something will manifest itself.
By training yourself to cultivate creativity instead of sitting back and waiting for genius to strike, you will become the most dangerous kind of artist—one who doesn’t need a perfect set of circumstances to produce art. Because life is seldom perfect, having the discipline to simply show up will often times yield greater results than waiting for the stars to align.
Now, what are you waiting for?